Overview of distinct 5-methylcytosine profiles of messenger RNA in human hepatocellular carcinoma and paired adjacent non-tumor tissues

J Transl Med. 2020 Jun 22;18(1):245. doi: 10.1186/s12967-020-02417-6.


Background: Post-transcriptional methylation modifications, including 5-methylcytosine (m5C) modification, are closely related to the tumorigenesis of cancers. However, the mRNA profile of m5C modification in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is unknown.

Methods: Methylated RNA immunoprecipitation sequencing was performed to identify m5C peaks on mRNA of human HCC tissues and adjacent tissues, and differences in m5C between the two groups were analyzed. In addition, we conducted a bioinformatics analysis to predict the function of specific methylated transcripts.

Results: We found that there was a noticeable difference in m5C between HCC and paired non-tumor tissues, suggesting that m5C could play a role in the pathogenesis of HCC. In addition, analyses of gene ontology and the Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes showed that the unique distribution pattern of mRNA m5C in HCC was associated with a wide range of cellular functions.

Conclusions: Our results revealed different distribution patterns of m5C in HCC and adjacent tissues and provided new insights into a novel function of m5C RNA methylation of mRNA in HCC progression.

Keywords: 5-methylcytosine; Hepatocellular carcinoma; MeRIP-seq; RNA methylation; mRNA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 5-Methylcytosine
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular* / genetics
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms* / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA


  • RNA, Messenger
  • 5-Methylcytosine