The RNA m6A landscape of mouse oocytes and preimplantation embryos

Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2023 May;30(5):703-709. doi: 10.1038/s41594-023-00969-x. Epub 2023 Apr 20.


Despite the significance of N6-methyladenosine (m6A) in gene regulation, the requirement for large amounts of RNA has hindered m6A profiling in mammalian early embryos. Here we apply low-input methyl RNA immunoprecipitation and sequencing to map m6A in mouse oocytes and preimplantation embryos. We define the landscape of m6A during the maternal-to-zygotic transition, including stage-specifically expressed transcription factors essential for cell fate determination. Both the maternally inherited transcripts to be degraded post fertilization and the zygotically activated genes during zygotic genome activation are widely marked by m6A. In contrast to m6A-marked zygotic ally-activated genes, m6A-marked maternally inherited transcripts have a higher tendency to be targeted by microRNAs. Moreover, RNAs derived from retrotransposons, such as MTA that is maternally expressed and MERVL that is transcriptionally activated at the two-cell stage, are largely marked by m6A. Our results provide a foundation for future studies exploring the regulatory roles of m6A in mammalian early embryonic development.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blastocyst
  • Embryonic Development / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Mammals / genetics
  • Mice
  • MicroRNAs* / metabolism
  • Oocytes / metabolism
  • Zygote


  • MicroRNAs