METTL4 belongs to a subclade of MT-A70 family members of methyltransferase (MTase) proteins shown to mediate N6-adenosine methylation for both RNA and DNA in diverse eukaryotes. Here, we report that Arabidopsis METTL4 functions as U2 snRNA MTase for N6-2'-O-dimethyladenosine (m6Am) in vivo that regulates flowering time, and specifically catalyzes N6-methylation of 2'-O-methyladenosine (Am) within a single-stranded RNA in vitro. The apo structures of full-length Arabidopsis METTL4 bound to S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAM) and the complex structure with an Am-containing RNA substrate, combined with mutagenesis and in vitro enzymatic assays, uncover a preformed L-shaped, positively-charged cavity surrounded by four loops for substrate binding and a catalytic center composed of conserved residues for specific Am nucleotide recognition and N6-methylation activity. Structural comparison of METTL4 with the mRNA m6A enzyme METTL3/METTL14 heterodimer and modeling analysis suggest a catalytic mechanism for N6-adenosine methylation by METTL4, which may be shared among MT-A70 family members.
State Key Laboratory of Genetic Engineering, Collaborative Innovation Center of Genetics and Development, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Institute of Plant Biology, School of Life Sciences, Fudan University, 200438, Shanghai, China.
Arabidopsis, Methyltransferases, Nucleotides, S-Adenosylmethionine, RNA, RNA, Messenger, Adenosine, Methylation