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The synergistic effect of circRNA methylation promotes pulmonary fibrosis

By Sha Wang, Wei Luo, Jie Huang, Menglin Chen, Jiawei Ding, Yusi Cheng, Wei Zhang, Shencun Fang, Jing Wang, Jie Chao

Posted 06 Aug 2021
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.08.05.455186

Rationale: N6-Methyladenosine (m6A) is the most common type of RNA methylation modification, mainly occurring on mRNA. Whether m6A-modified circRNAs are involved in different settings of pulmonary fibrosis remains unclear. Methods and Results: Using an m6A-circRNA epitranscriptomic chip, candidate circRNAs were selected, in which hsa_circ_0000672 and hsa_circ_0005654 were specifically involved in SiO2-induced pulmonary fibrosis by targeting the same protein, eIF4A3, indicating that the m6A modification of these two circRNAs has a synergistic effect on fibroblast dysfunction induced by SiO2. A mechanistic study revealed that the m6A modification of circRNAs was mainly mediated by the methyltransferase METTL3. Furthermore, METTL3 promoted the activation, migration and activity of pulmonary fibroblasts and participated in SiO2-induced pulmonary fibrosis via circRNA m6A modification. Conclusion: m6A methylation of circRNAs mediates silica-induced fibrosis via synergistic effects, enriching the understanding of circRNAs and uncovering a potential new target to treat fibrosis-related diseases.

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