Dissecting the oncogenic properties of essential RNA-modifying enzymes: a focus on NAT10

Oncogene. 2024 Apr;43(15):1077-1086. doi: 10.1038/s41388-024-02975-9. Epub 2024 Feb 26.


Chemical modifications of ribonucleotides significantly alter the physicochemical properties and functions of RNA. Initially perceived as static and essential marks in ribosomal RNA (rRNA) and transfer RNA (tRNA), recent discoveries unveiled a dynamic landscape of RNA modifications in messenger RNA (mRNA) and other regulatory RNAs. These findings spurred extensive efforts to map the distribution and function of RNA modifications, aiming to elucidate their distribution and functional significance in normal cellular homeostasis and pathological states. Significant dysregulation of RNA modifications is extensively documented in cancers, accentuating the potential of RNA-modifying enzymes as therapeutic targets. However, the essential role of several RNA-modifying enzymes in normal physiological functions raises concerns about potential side effects. A notable example is N-acetyltransferase 10 (NAT10), which is responsible for acetylating cytidines in RNA. While emerging evidence positions NAT10 as an oncogenic factor and a potential target in various cancer types, its essential role in normal cellular processes complicates the development of targeted therapies. This review aims to comprehensively analyze the essential and oncogenic properties of NAT10. We discuss its crucial role in normal cell biology and aging alongside its contribution to cancer development and progression. We advocate for agnostic approaches to disentangling the intertwined essential and oncogenic functions of RNA-modifying enzymes. Such approaches are crucial for understanding the full spectrum of RNA-modifying enzymes and imperative for designing effective and safe therapeutic strategies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • N-Terminal Acetyltransferases* / genetics
  • Neoplasms* / genetics
  • RNA* / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA, Ribosomal
  • RNA, Transfer / genetics


  • N-Terminal Acetyltransferases
  • NAT10 protein, human
  • RNA
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA, Ribosomal
  • RNA, Transfer