Frontiers in Genetics (Apr 2020)

Direct RNA Sequencing for the Study of Synthesis, Processing, and Degradation of Modified Transcripts

  • Mattia Furlan,
  • Mattia Furlan,
  • Iris Tanaka,
  • Tommaso Leonardi,
  • Stefano de Pretis,
  • Mattia Pelizzola

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 11


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It has been known for a few decades that transcripts can be marked by dozens of different modifications. Yet, we are just at the beginning of charting these marks and understanding their functional impact. High-quality methods were developed for the profiling of some of these marks, and approaches to finely study their impact on specific phases of the RNA life-cycle are available, including RNA metabolic labeling. Thanks to these improvements, the most abundant marks, including N6-methyladenosine, are emerging as important determinants of the fate of marked RNAs. However, we still lack approaches to directly study how the set of marks for a given RNA molecule shape its fate. In this perspective, we first review current leading approaches in the field. Then, we propose an experimental and computational setup, based on direct RNA sequencing and mathematical modeling, to decipher the functional consequences of RNA modifications on the fate of individual RNA molecules and isoforms.