7 March 2024

Epitranscriptic regulation of HRAS by N6-methyladenosine drives tumor progression

Pan Y, Gu Y, Liu T, Zhang Q, Yang F, Duan L, Cheng S, Zhu X, Xi Y, Chang X, Ye Q, Gao S. Epitranscriptic regulation of HRAS by N6-methyladenosine drives tumor progression. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2023 Apr 4;120(14):e2302291120. doi: 10.1073/pnas.2302291120. Epub 2023 Mar 30. PMID: 36996116; PMCID: PMC10083612.

Overexpression of Ras, in addition to the oncogenic mutations, occurs in various human cancers. However, the mechanisms for epitranscriptic regulation of RAS in tumorigenesis remain unclear. Here, we report that the widespread N6-methyladenosine (m6A) modification of HRAS, but not KRAS and NRAS, is higher in cancer tissues compared with the adjacent tissues, which results in the increased expression of H-Ras protein, thus promoting cancer cell proliferation and metastasis. Mechanistically, three m6A modification sites of HRAS 3' UTR, which is regulated by FTO and bound by YTHDF1, but not YTHDF2 nor YTHDF3, promote its protein expression by the enhanced translational elongation. In addition, targeting HRAS m6A modification decreases cancer proliferation and metastasis. Clinically, up-regulated H-Ras expression correlates with down-regulated FTO and up-regulated YTHDF1 expression in various cancers. Collectively, our study reveals a linking between specific m6A modification sites of HRAS and tumor progression, which provides a new strategy to target oncogenic Ras signaling.

Keywords: FTO; HRAS; YTHDF1; epitranscriptome; m6A.