The dynamic and reversible N6-methyladenosine (m6A) RNA modification installed and erased by N6-methyltransferases and demethylases regulates gene expression and cell fate. We show that the m6A demethylase ALKBH5 is highly expressed in glioblastoma stem-like cells (GSCs). Silencing ALKBH5 suppresses the proliferation of patient-derived GSCs. Integrated transcriptome and m6A-seq analyses revealed altered expression of certain ALKBH5 target genes, including the transcription factor FOXM1. ALKBH5 demethylates FOXM1 nascent transcripts, leading to enhanced FOXM1 expression. Furthermore, a long non-coding RNA antisense to FOXM1 (FOXM1-AS) promotes the interaction of ALKBH5 with FOXM1 nascent transcripts. Depleting ALKBH5 and FOXM1-AS disrupted GSC tumorigenesis through the FOXM1 axis. Our work uncovers a critical function for ALKBH5 and provides insight into critical roles of m6A methylation in glioblastoma.
Keywords: ALKBH5; FOXM1; glioblastoma; m(6)A modification.
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