Advancment in RNA modification mapping

A Chinese research team led by Dr. Meng Jia of Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU) has completed a high-resolution prediction of the whole-transcriptome of human m6A RNA modification, which can help scientists regulate gene expression without changing its sequences.

Advancment in RNA modification mapping

RNA modification is a hot research field in biological science today. There are more than 100 different types of RNA modifications. Among them, “m6A is the most abundant and probably the most important and valuable to study,” said Meng Jia.

The m6A RNA modification is one kind of biochemical modification of the RNA molecule, which may alter its biological properties and regulate gene expression without changing its sequences.

“The m6A RNA methylation enzymes play a key role in diseases such as leukemia, glioblastoma, non-small cell lung cancer and breast cancer. It is a very promising direction to explore in the future,” added Meng.

The research team is the first to use 35 genomic features for site prediction in the research field of RNA modification.

“Previous research has taken into account the sequence information, which produces a prediction accuracy rate of 80 percent. We improved the prediction accuracy to around 90 percent by using genomic features, which is a big step forward,” Meng said.

The team used a machine learning approach when drafting the map, establishing a prediction model based on the conventional sequence features and new genomic features.

“It has provided more reliable reference information for researchers in the field of human RNA modifications,” said Chen Kunqi, one of the leading researchers.

The research result was published on the latest issue of Nucleic Acids Research, a top international journal in the field of bioinformatics.