The N6-methyladenosine methyltransferase METTL16 enables erythropoiesis through safeguarding genome integrity

Nat Commun. 2022 Oct 28;13(1):6435. doi: 10.1038/s41467-022-34078-y.


During erythroid differentiation, the maintenance of genome integrity is key for the success of multiple rounds of cell division. However, molecular mechanisms coordinating the expression of DNA repair machinery in erythroid progenitors are poorly understood. Here, we discover that an RNA N6-methyladenosine (m6A) methyltransferase, METTL16, plays an essential role in proper erythropoiesis by safeguarding genome integrity via the control of DNA-repair-related genes. METTL16-deficient erythroblasts exhibit defective differentiation capacity, DNA damage and activation of the apoptotic program. Mechanistically, METTL16 controls m6A deposition at the structured motifs in DNA-repair-related transcripts including Brca2 and Fancm mRNAs, thereby upregulating their expression. Furthermore, a pairwise CRISPRi screen revealed that the MTR4-nuclear RNA exosome complex is involved in the regulation of METTL16 substrate mRNAs in erythroblasts. Collectively, our study uncovers that METTL16 and the MTR4-nuclear RNA exosome act as essential regulatory machinery to maintain genome integrity and erythropoiesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine / metabolism
  • DNA / metabolism
  • Erythroblasts / metabolism
  • Erythropoiesis* / genetics
  • Methylation
  • Methyltransferases* / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism


  • Methyltransferases
  • Adenosine
  • N-methyladenosine
  • RNA, Messenger
  • DNA