Methyltransferase like-3 (METTL3) and METTL14 complex transfers a methyl group from S-adenosyl-L-methionine to N6 amino group of adenosine bases in RNA (m6A) and DNA (m6dA). Emerging evidence highlights a role of METTL3-METTL14 in the chromatin context, especially in processes where DNA and RNA are held in close proximity. However, a mechanistic framework about specificity for substrate RNA/DNA and their interrelationship remain unclear. By systematically studying methylation activity and binding affinity to a number of DNA and RNA oligos with different propensities to form inter- or intra-molecular duplexes or single-stranded molecules in vitro, we uncover an inverse relationship for substrate binding and methylation and show that METTL3-METTL14 preferentially catalyzes the formation of m6dA in single-stranded DNA (ssDNA), despite weaker binding affinity to DNA. In contrast, it binds structured RNAs with high affinity, but methylates the target adenosine in RNA (m6A) much less efficiently than it does in ssDNA. We also show that METTL3-METTL14-mediated methylation of DNA is largely restricted by structured RNA elements prevalent in long noncoding and other cellular RNAs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)