FTO promotes liver inflammation by suppressing m6A mRNA methylation of IL-17RA

Front Oncol. 2022 Sep 12;12:989353. doi: 10.3389/fonc.2022.989353. eCollection 2022.


Background: Previous studies have demonstrated that inflammation-related interleukin-17 (IL-17) signaling plays a pivotal role in the pathogenesis of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)- and alcoholic liver disease (ALD)-induced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, rare efforts have been intended at implementing the analysis of N6-methyladenosine (m6A) mRNA methylation to elucidate the underpinning function of the IL-17 receptor A (IL-17RA) during the inflammation-carcinogenesis transformation of HCC.

Methods: We performed methylated RNA immunoprecipitation sequencing (MeRIP-seq) using normal, HCC tumor and paired tumor adjacent tissues from patients to investigate the dynamic changes of m6A mRNA methylation in the process of HCC. Additionally, murine non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) model and murine chronic liver injury model were utilized to investigate the role of IL-17RA regulated by m6A mRNA modulator fat mass and obesity-associated (FTO) in chronic hepatic inflammation.

Results: MeRIP-seq revealed the reduction of m6A mRNA methylation of IL-17RA in tumor adjacent tissues with chronic inflammation, suggesting the potential role of IL-17RA in the inflammation-carcinogenesis transformation of HCC. Besides, we demonstrated that FTO, rather than methyltransferase-like 3 (METTL3), methyltransferase-like 14 (METTL14), and alkB homolog 5 (ALKBH5) functions as a main modulator for the decrease of m6A mRNA methylation of IL-17RA via knockdown and overexpression of FTO in vitro and in vivo.

Conclusions: Overall, we elaborated the underlying mechanisms of the increase of IL-17RA resulting in chronic inflammation via the demethylation of FTO in tumor adjacent tissues and demonstrated that targeting the specific m6A modulator FTO may provide an effective treatment for hepatitis patients to prevent the development of HCC.

Keywords: HCC; IL-17RA; RNA methylation; fto; liver inflammation; m6A.