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A fluorescent methylation-switchable probe for highly sensitive analysis of FTO N-6-methyladenosine demethylase activity in cells

Cheong, A; Low, JJA; Lim, A; Yen, PM; Woon, ECY; (2018) A fluorescent methylation-switchable probe for highly sensitive analysis of FTO N-6-methyladenosine demethylase activity in cells. Chemical Science , 9 (36) pp. 7174-7185. 10.1039/c8sc02163e. Green open access

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Abstract

N^{6}-Methyladenosine (m^{6}A) is one of the most abundant epigenetic modifications on mRNA. It is dynamically regulated by the m^{6}A demethylases FTO and ALKBH5, which are currently attracting intense medical interest because of their strong association with several human diseases. Despite their clinical significance, the molecular mechanisms of m6A demethylases remain unclear, hence there is tremendous interest in developing analytical tools to facilitate their functional studies, with a longer term view of validating their therapeutic potentials. To date, no method exists which permits the analysis of m6A-demethylase activity in cells. To overcome this challenge, herein, we describe the first example of a fluorescent m^{6}A-switchable oligonucleotide probe, which enables the direct detection of FTO demethylase activity both in vitro and in living cells. The m^{6}A probe provides a simple, yet powerful visual tool for highly sensitive detection of demethylase activity. Through the use of m6A-probe, we were able to achieve real-time imaging and single-cell flow cytometry analyses of FTO activity in HepG2 cells. We also successfully applied the probe to monitor dynamic changes in FTO activity and m^{6}A methylation levels during 3T3-L1 pre-adipocyte differentiation. The strategy outlined here is highly versatile and may, in principle, be adapted to the study of a range of RNA demethylases and, more widely, other RNA modifying enzymes. To the best of our knowledge, the present study represents not only the first assay for monitoring FTO activity in living cells, but also a new strategy for sensing m^{6}A methylation dynamics.

Type: Article
Title: A fluorescent methylation-switchable probe for highly sensitive analysis of FTO N-6-methyladenosine demethylase activity in cells
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1039/c8sc02163e
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1039/C8SC02163E
Language: English
Additional information: © The Royal Society of Chemistry 2018. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported Licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/).
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > UCL School of Pharmacy
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > UCL School of Pharmacy > Pharma and Bio Chemistry
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10106331
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