On tuesday next week, Jean Yves Roignant from the institute of Molecular Biology (IMB) in Mainz will present intriguing findings that highlight the importance of m6A RNA modification in flies.
N6-methyladenosine RNA (m6A) is a prevalent mRNA modification in vertebrates. While its functions in the regulation of posttranscriptional gene expression are beginning to be unveiled, the precise roles of m6A during development of complex organisms remain unclear. Jean-Yves and his team have carried out a comprehensive molecular and physiological characterization of the individual components of the methyltransferase complex as well as of the YTH nuclear reader protein in Drosophila melanogaster. They identified the member of the split ends protein family, Spenito, as a novel bona fide subunit of the methyltransferase complex. Furthermore, they demonstrated important roles of this complex in neuronal function and sex determination, and implicate the nuclear YT521-B as a main m6A effector in these processes. Altogether, this work substantially extends our knowledge on m6A biology, demonstrating the crucial functions of this modification in fundamental processes within the context of the whole animal.