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Dev Comp Immunol August 1, 2022; 133 104434.
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Global N6-methyladenosine methylation analysis reveals the positive correlation between m6A modification and mRNA abundance during Apostichopus japonicus disease development.

Shao Y , Duan X , Zhao X , Lv Z , Li C .

N6-methyladenosine (m6A), the most abundant epitranscriptomic modification in eukaryotic messenger RNA (mRNA), plays important roles in regulation of gene expression for fundamental biological processes and diverse physiological functions, including combating with pathogen infection. Here, we were first profile transcriptome-wide m6A sequencing in four stages of skin ulceration syndrome-diseased Apostichopus japonicus following Vibrio splendidus infection, including Control (healthy), Early (small ulcer), Later (extensive ulcer), and Resistant (no ulcer) groups. Our results revealed that three experimental groups were all extensively methylated by m6A and the proportion of the m6A modified genes were also significantly increased to 28.90% (Early), 27.97% (Later), and 29.98% (Resistant) when compared with Control group (15.15%), indicating m6A modification could be induced by V. splendidus infection. Intriguingly, we discovered a positive correlation between the m6A methylation level and mRNA abundance, indicating a positive regulatory role of m6A in sea cucumber gene expression during V. splendidus infection. Moreover, genes with specific and differentially expressed m6A methylation in Later group were both enriched in cell adhesion, while Early and Resistant groups were both mainly involved in DNA conformation change and chromosome organization when compared with Control, suggesting the higher-methylated m6A might serve as "conformational marker" and associated to the initiation of related anti-disease genes transcription in order to improve disease resistance of sea cucumber. Subsequently, we selected the pivotal genes enriched in cell adhesion pathway and found that the IggFc-binding protein (FcGBP) and Fibrocystin-L both had higher levels of m6A methylation and higher level of mRNA expressions in Later group. Conversely, Fibrinogen C domain-containing protein 1 (F1BCD1) gene presented as an antibacterial role in sea cucumber and showed higher mRNA expression and higher m6A methylation in Resistant group and lower mRNA level in Later group. The levels of m6A methylation and mRNA abundance of FcGBP and F1BCD1 genes indicates disease occurrence or disease resistant were also verified by MeRIP-qPCR. Overall, our study presents the first comprehensive characterize of dynamic m6A methylation modification in the different stages of disease in sea cucumber. These data provide an invaluable resource for future studies of function and biological significance of m6A in mRNA in marine invertebrates.

PubMed ID: 35562078
Article link: Dev Comp Immunol