Regulation of gene expression plays a fundamental role in cardiac stress-responses. Modification of coding transcripts by adenosine methylation (m6A) has recently emerged as a critical post-transcriptional mechanism underlying heart disease. Thousands of mammalian mRNAs are known to be m6A-modified, suggesting that remodeling of the m6A landscape may play an important role in cardiac pathophysiology. Here we found an increase in m6A content in human heart failure samples. We then adopted genome-wide analysis to define all m6A-regulated sites in human failing compared to non-failing hearts and identified targeted transcripts involved in histone modification as enriched in heart failure. Further, we compared all m6A sites regulated in human hearts with the ones occurring in isolated rat hypertrophic cardiomyocytes to define cardiomyocyte-specific m6A events conserved across species. Our results identified 38 shared transcripts targeted by m6A during stress conditions, and 11 events that are unique to unstressed cardiomyocytes. Of these, further evaluation of select mRNA and protein abundances demonstrates the potential impact of m6A on post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression in the heart.
Keywords: Cardiomyocyte hypertrophy; Epigenetics; Gene expression; Heart failure; m(6)A.
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