Massive transcriptome sequencing through high-throughput platforms has revealed that the vast majority of the mammalian genome is transcribed, but not translated into protein. RNA is not only an essential intermediate in the flux of genetic information from DNA to proteins, but rather is a molecule that plays crucial roles in the regulation of fundamental cellular processes, being the dysregulation of certain RNAs implicated in a number of important pathological processes, including cancer. The coding and non-coding transcriptome is extensively and dynamically regulated by chemical modification adding a new layer of complexity and functionality to the emerging roles of RNAs in health and disease.
N6-methyladenosine (m6A) is the most abundant post-transcriptional modification in RNA. Enrichment of m6A in RNA effectively influences all aspects of RNA metabolism, including mRNA stability, alternative splicing, mRNA translation efficiency, 5’ untranslated region cap-independent translation, RNA-protein interactions, and microRNA processing, resulting in alterations in a cascade of cellular processes.
The aim of the research project is to decipher the RNA methylation patterns that coordinate the complex, transcriptional and posttranscriptional networks that promote and sustain breast tumorigenesis. For this, we will specifically immunoprecipitate RNAs that harbour m6A modification in control and breast cancer cells and perform HiSeq analysis. Providing a new level of knowledge on the interplay between epigenetic and RNA modifications is a requisite for the development of new promising therapeutic compounds for use in breast cancer patients.