Epitranscriptomic marks: Emerging modulators of RNA virus gene expression

Wiley Interdiscip Rev RNA. 2020 May;11(3):e1576. doi: 10.1002/wrna.1576. Epub 2019 Nov 6.


Epitranscriptomics, the study of posttranscriptional chemical moieties placed on RNA, has blossomed in recent years. This is due in part to the emergence of high-throughput detection methods as well as the burst of discoveries showing biological function of select chemical marks. RNA modifications have been shown to affect RNA structure, localization, and functions such as alternative splicing, stabilizing transcripts, nuclear export, cap-dependent and cap-independent translation, microRNA biogenesis and binding, RNA degradation, and immune regulation. As such, the deposition of chemical marks on RNA has the unique capability to spatially and temporally regulate gene expression. The goal of this article is to present the exciting convergence of the epitranscriptomic and virology fields, specifically the deposition and biological impact of N7-methylguanosine, ribose 2'-O-methylation, pseudouridine, inosine, N6-methyladenosine, and 5-methylcytosine epitranscriptomic marks on gene expression of RNA viruses. This article is categorized under: RNA in Disease and Development > RNA in Disease RNA Interactions with Proteins and Other Molecules > Protein-RNA Interactions: Functional Implications.

Keywords: 5-methylcytosine; N6-methyladenosine; N7-methylguanosine; RNA virus; epitranscriptomics; innate immunity; inosine; pseudouridine; ribose 2′-O-methylation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Epigenesis, Genetic / genetics*
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • RNA, Viral / genetics*
  • RNA, Viral / metabolism
  • Viral Transcription


  • RNA, Viral