RNA Methylation: The Next Big Thing in Stem Cell Differentiation and RNA Stability |EpiBeat

While DNA methylation is probably the longest studied and best understood epigenetic modification, methylation of RNA is gaining increased appreciation, especially recently. N6-methyladenosine (m6A) in RNA has been observed to be the most frequently occurring epigenetic modification in mRNAs in eukaryotic organisms, but the function of this modification is still poorly understood. A recent paper by Wang et al. reports that the m6A modification in RNA acts to destabilize transcripts and that RNA methylation is important for keeping embryonic stem cells in their undifferentiated and pluripotent state. Furthermore, the authors hypothesize that RNA methylation is a critical activity in cell biology and might also play a central role in numerous RNA-mediated cellular processes.

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