Tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) is an accurate tool to assess modified ribonucleosides and their dynamics in mammalian cells. However, MS/MS quantification of lowly abundant modifications in non-ribosomal RNAs is unreliable, and the dynamic features of various modifications are poorly understood. Here, we developed a 13C labeling approach, called 13C-dynamods, to quantify the turnover of base modifications in newly transcribed RNA. This turnover-based approach helped to resolve mRNA from ncRNA modifications in purified RNA or free ribonucleoside samples and showed the distinct kinetics of the N6-methyladenosine (m6A) versus 7-methylguanosine (m7G) modification in polyA+-purified RNA. We uncovered that N6,N6-dimethyladenosine (m62A) exhibits distinct turnover in small RNAs and free ribonucleosides when compared to known m62A-modified large rRNAs. Finally, combined measurements of turnover and abundance of these modifications informed on the transcriptional versus posttranscriptional sensitivity of modified ncRNAs and mRNAs, respectively, to stress conditions. Thus, 13C-dynamods enables studies of the origin of modified RNAs at steady-state and subsequent dynamics under nonstationary conditions. These results open new directions to probe the presence and biological regulation of modifications in particular RNAs.
Keywords: 7-methylguanosine; N6,N6-dimethyladenosine; N6-methyladenosine; RNA modifications; RNA turnover; isotopic labeling; mass spectrometry; metabolic stress; metabolism; methylation dynamics.
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