METTL3 drives telomere targeting of TERRA lncRNA through m6A-dependent R-loop formation: a therapeutic target for ALT-positive neuroblastoma.

Vaid R, Thombare K, Mendez A, Burgos-Panadero R, Djos A, Jachimowicz D, Lundberg KI, Bartenhagen C, Kumar N, T├╝mmler C, Sihlbom C, Fransson S, Johnsen JI, Kogner P, Martinsson T, Fischer M, Mondal T

Nucleic Acids Res. - (-) - [2024-01-05; online 2024-01-05]

Telomerase-negative tumors maintain telomere length by alternative lengthening of telomeres (ALT), but the underlying mechanism behind ALT remains poorly understood. A proportion of aggressive neuroblastoma (NB), particularly relapsed tumors, are positive for ALT (ALT+), suggesting that a better dissection of the ALT mechanism could lead to novel therapeutic opportunities. TERRA, a long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) derived from telomere ends, localizes to telomeres in a R-loop-dependent manner and plays a crucial role in telomere maintenance. Here we present evidence that RNA modification at the N6 position of internal adenosine (m6A) in TERRA by the methyltransferase METTL3 is essential for telomere maintenance in ALT+ cells, and the loss of TERRA m6A/METTL3 results in telomere damage. We observed that m6A modification is abundant in R-loop enriched TERRA, and the m6A-mediated recruitment of hnRNPA2B1 to TERRA is critical for R-loop formation. Our findings suggest that m6A drives telomere targeting of TERRA via R-loops, and this m6A-mediated R-loop formation could be a widespread mechanism employed by other chromatin-interacting lncRNAs. Furthermore, treatment of ALT+ NB cells with a METTL3 inhibitor resulted in compromised telomere targeting of TERRA and accumulation of DNA damage at telomeres, indicating that METTL3 inhibition may represent a therapeutic approach for ALT+ NB.

NGI Short read [Service]

NGI Stockholm (Genomics Production) [Service]

National Genomics Infrastructure [Service]

PubMed 38180812

DOI 10.1093/nar/gkad1242

Crossref 10.1093/nar/gkad1242

pii: 7511755

Publications 9.5.0