The 18S ribosomal RNA m6 A methyltransferase Mettl5 is required for normal walking behavior in Drosophila. uri icon

abstract

  • RNA modifications have recently emerged as an important layer of gene regulation. N6-methyladenosine (m6 A) is the most prominent modification on eukaryotic messenger RNA and has also been found on noncoding RNA, including ribosomal and small nuclear RNA. Recently, several m6 A methyltransferases were identified, uncovering the specificity of m6 A deposition by structurally distinct enzymes. In order to discover additional m6 A enzymes, we performed an RNAi screen to deplete annotated orthologs of human methyltransferase-like proteins (METTLs) in Drosophila cells and identified CG9666, the ortholog of human METTL5. We show that CG9666 is required for specific deposition of m6 A on 18S ribosomal RNA via direct interaction with the Drosophila ortholog of human TRMT112, CG12975. Depletion of CG9666 yields a subsequent loss of the 18S rRNA m6 A modification, which lies in the vicinity of the ribosome decoding center; however, this does not compromise rRNA maturation. Instead, a loss of CG9666-mediated m6 A impacts fly behavior, providing an underlying molecular mechanism for the reported human phenotype in intellectual disability. Thus, our work expands the repertoire of m6 A methyltransferases, demonstrates the specialization of these enzymes, and further addresses the significance of ribosomal RNA modifications in gene expression and animal behavior.

publication date

  • July 3, 2020