Von Hippel Lindau tumor suppressor controls m6A-dependent gene expression in renal tumorigenesis

Cheng Zhang, Miaomiao Yu, Austin J. Hepperla, Zhao Zhang, Rishi Raj, Hua Zhong, Jin Zhou, Lianxin Hu, Jun Fang, Hongyi Liu, Qian Liang, Liwei Jia, Chengheng Liao, Sichuan Xi, Jeremy M. Simon, Kexin Xu, Zhijie Liu, Yunsun Nam, Payal Kapur, Qing Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


N6-Methyladenosine (m6A) is the most abundant posttranscriptional modification, and its contribution to cancer evolution has recently been appreciated. Renal cancer is the most common adult genitourinary cancer, approximately 85% of which is accounted for by the clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC) subtype characterized by VHL loss. However, it is unclear whether VHL loss in ccRCC affects m6A patterns. In this study, we demonstrate that VHL binds and promotes METTL3/ METTL14 complex formation while VHL depletion suppresses m6A modification, which is distinctive from its canonical E3 ligase role. m6A RNA immunoprecipitation sequencing (RIP-Seq) coupled with RNA-Seq allows us to identify a selection of genes whose expression may be regulated by VHL-m6A signaling. Specifically, PIK3R3 is identified to be a critical gene whose mRNA stability is regulated by VHL in a m6A-dependent but HIF-independent manner. Functionally, PIK3R3 depletion promotes renal cancer cell growth and orthotopic tumor growth while its overexpression leads to decreased tumorigenesis. Mechanistically, the VHL-m6A–regulated PIK3R3 suppresses tumor growth by restraining PI3K/AKT activity. Taken together, we propose a mechanism by which VHL regulates m6A through modulation of METTL3/METTL14 complex formation, thereby promoting PIK3R3 mRNA stability and protein levels that are critical for regulating ccRCC tumorigenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere175703
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 15 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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