Post-transcriptional gene regulation by mRNA modifications

Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2017 Jan;18(1):31-42. doi: 10.1038/nrm.2016.132. Epub 2016 Nov 3.


The recent discovery of reversible mRNA methylation has opened a new realm of post-transcriptional gene regulation in eukaryotes. The identification and functional characterization of proteins that specifically recognize RNA N6-methyladenosine (m6A) unveiled it as a modification that cells utilize to accelerate mRNA metabolism and translation. N6-adenosine methylation directs mRNAs to distinct fates by grouping them for differential processing, translation and decay in processes such as cell differentiation, embryonic development and stress responses. Other mRNA modifications, including N1-methyladenosine (m1A), 5-methylcytosine (m5C) and pseudouridine, together with m6A form the epitranscriptome and collectively code a new layer of information that controls protein synthesis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • 5-Methylcytosine / metabolism
  • Adenosine / analogs & derivatives
  • Adenosine / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Cell Cycle / genetics
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics
  • Circadian Rhythm / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Humans
  • Methylation
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • Protein Biosynthesis
  • RNA Processing, Post-Transcriptional*
  • RNA Stability
  • RNA, Messenger / chemistry
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism*


  • RNA, Messenger
  • 1-methyladenosine
  • N6-methyladenosine (m6A)
  • 5-Methylcytosine
  • Adenosine