METTL3-mediated m 6 A mRNA modification of FBXW7 suppresses lung adenocarcinoma

J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2021 Mar 6;40(1):90. doi: 10.1186/s13046-021-01880-3.


Background: FBXW7 m6A modification plays an important role in lung adenocarcinoma (LUAD) progression; however, the underlying mechanisms remain unclear.

Methods: The correlation between FBXW7 and various genes related to m6A modification was analyzed using The Cancer Genome Atlas database. The regulatory effects of METTL3 on FBXW7 mRNA m6A modification were examined in a cell model, and the underlying mechanism was determined by methylated RNA immunoprecipitation, RNA immunoprecipitation, luciferase reporter, and mutagenesis assays. In vitro experiments were performed to further explore the biological effects of METTL3-mediated FBXW7 m6A modification on LUAD development.

Results: Decreased FBXW7 expression was accompanied by downregulated METTL3 expression in human LUAD tissues and was associated with a worse prognosis for LUAD in The Cancer Genome Atlas database. m6A was highly enriched in METTL3-mediated FBXW7 transcripts, and increased m6A modification in the coding sequence region increased its translation. Functionally, METTL3 overexpression or knockdown affected the apoptosis and proliferation phenotype of LUAD cells by regulating FBXW7 m6A modification and expression. Furthermore, FBXW7 overexpression in METTL3-depleted cells partially restored LUAD cell suppression in vitro and in vivo.

Conclusions: Our findings reveal that METTL3 positively regulates FBXW7 expression and confirm the tumor-suppressive role of m6A-modified FBXW7, thus providing insight into its epigenetic regulatory mechanisms in LUAD initiation and development.

Keywords: Epigenetic modification; FBXW7; Lung adenocarcinoma; METTL3; m6A.