miRNA-mediated loss of m6A increases nascent translation in glioblastoma

PLoS Genet. 2021 Mar 8;17(3):e1009086. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1009086. eCollection 2021 Mar.


Within the glioblastoma cellular niche, glioma stem cells (GSCs) can give rise to differentiated glioma cells (DGCs) and, when necessary, DGCs can reciprocally give rise to GSCs to maintain the cellular equilibrium necessary for optimal tumor growth. Here, using ribosome profiling, transcriptome and m6A RNA sequencing, we show that GSCs from patients with different subtypes of glioblastoma share a set of transcripts, which exhibit a pattern of m6A loss and increased protein translation during differentiation. The target sequences of a group of miRNAs overlap the canonical RRACH m6A motifs of these transcripts, many of which confer a survival advantage in glioblastoma. Ectopic expression of the RRACH-binding miR-145 induces loss of m6A, formation of FTO/AGO1/ILF3/miR-145 complexes on a clinically relevant tumor suppressor gene (CLIP3) and significant increase in its nascent translation. Inhibition of miR-145 maintains RRACH m6A levels of CLIP3 and inhibits its nascent translation. This study highlights a critical role of miRNAs in assembling complexes for m6A demethylation and induction of protein translation during GSC state transition.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3' Untranslated Regions
  • Adenosine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Adenosine / metabolism
  • Base Sequence
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Glioblastoma / genetics*
  • Glioblastoma / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Methylation
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism*
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / genetics
  • Protein Biosynthesis*
  • RNA Interference
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Transcriptome
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • 3' Untranslated Regions
  • CLIP3 protein, human
  • MicroRNAs
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • N-methyladenosine
  • Adenosine