N6-methyladenosine in nuclear RNA is a major substrate of the obesity-associated FTO

Nat Chem Biol. 2011 Oct 16;7(12):885-7. doi: 10.1038/nchembio.687.


We report here that fat mass and obesity-associated protein (FTO) has efficient oxidative demethylation activity targeting the abundant N6-methyladenosine (m(6)A) residues in RNA in vitro. FTO knockdown with siRNA led to increased amounts of m(6)A in mRNA, whereas overexpression of FTO resulted in decreased amounts of m(6)A in human cells. We further show the partial colocalization of FTO with nuclear speckles, which supports the notion that m(6)A in nuclear RNA is a major physiological substrate of FTO.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Adenosine / metabolism
  • Alpha-Ketoglutarate-Dependent Dioxygenase FTO
  • Cell Nucleus / genetics*
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Methylation
  • Obesity*
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Proteins / genetics
  • Proteins / metabolism*
  • RNA, Messenger / chemistry*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism*
  • Substrate Specificity


  • Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • N-methyladenosine
  • Alpha-Ketoglutarate-Dependent Dioxygenase FTO
  • FTO protein, human
  • Adenosine