M 6 A RNA Methylation Controls Neural Development and Is Involved in Human Diseases

Mol Neurobiol. 2019 Mar;56(3):1596-1606. doi: 10.1007/s12035-018-1138-1. Epub 2018 Jun 16.


RNA modifications are involved in many aspects of biological functions. N6-methyladenosine (m6A) is one of the most important forms of RNA methylation and plays a vital role in regulating gene expression, protein translation, cell behaviors, and physiological conditions in many species, including humans. The dynamic and reversible modification of m6A is conducted by three elements: methyltransferases ("writers"), such as methyltransferase-like protein 3 (METTL3) and METTL14; m6A-binding proteins ("readers"), such as the YTH domain family proteins (YTHDFs) and YTH domain-containing protein 1 (YTHDC1); and demethylases ("erasers"), such as fat mass and obesity-associated protein (FTO) and AlkB homolog 5 (ALKBH5). In this review, we summarize the current knowledge on mapping mRNA positions of m6A modification and revealing molecular processes of m6A. We further highlight the biological significance of m6A modification in neural cells during development of the nervous system and its association with human diseases. m6A RNA methylation is becoming a new frontier in neuroscience and should help us better understand neural development and neurological diseases from a novel point of view.

Keywords: Demethylase; FTO; METTL3; Methyltransferase; N6-methyladenosine (m6A); Neural development.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Adenosine / genetics
  • Adenosine / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Methylation
  • Nervous System Diseases / genetics
  • Nervous System Diseases / metabolism*
  • Neurogenesis / physiology*


  • N(6)-methyladenosine
  • Adenosine