Mettl3-mediated m6A regulates spermatogonial differentiation and meiosis initiation

Cell Res. 2017 Sep;27(9):1100-1114. doi: 10.1038/cr.2017.100. Epub 2017 Aug 15.


METTL3 catalyzes the formation of N6-methyl-adenosine (m6A) which has important roles in regulating various biological processes. However, the in vivo function of Mettl3 remains largely unknown in mammals. Here we generated germ cell-specific Mettl3 knockout mice and demonstrated that Mettl3 was essential for male fertility and spermatogenesis. The ablation of Mettl3 in germ cells severely inhibited spermatogonial differentiation and blocked the initiation of meiosis. Transcriptome and m6A profiling analysis revealed that genes functioning in spermatogenesis had altered profiles of expression and alternative splicing. Our findings provide novel insights into the function and regulatory mechanisms of Mettl3-mediated m6A modification in spermatogenesis and reproduction in mammals.

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Adenosine / metabolism
  • Alternative Splicing / genetics
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Cell Differentiation* / genetics
  • Fertility
  • Gene Deletion
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Male
  • Meiosis* / genetics
  • Methyltransferases / genetics
  • Methyltransferases / metabolism*
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Spermatogenesis / genetics
  • Spermatogonia / cytology*
  • Spermatogonia / metabolism*


  • N-methyladenosine
  • Methyltransferases
  • Mettl3 protein, mouse
  • Adenosine