Over 17 and 160 types of chemical modifications have been identified in DNA and RNA, respectively. The interest in understanding the various biological functions of DNA and RNA modifications has lead to the cutting-edged fields of epigenomics and epitranscriptomics. Developing chemical and biological tools to detect specific modifications in the genome or transcriptome has greatly facilitated their study. Here, we review the recent technological advances in this rapidly evolving field. We focus on high-throughput detection methods and biological findings for these modifications, and discuss questions to be addressed as well. We also summarize third-generation sequencing methods, which enable long-read and single-molecule sequencing of DNA and RNA modification.
Many human genetic diseases, including Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome (HGPS), are caused by single point mutations. HGPS is a rare disorder that causes premature aging and is usually caused by a de novo point mutation in the LMNA gene. Base editors (BEs) composed of a cytidine deaminase fused to CRISPR/Cas9 nickase are highly efficient at inducing C to T base conversions in a programmable manner and can be used to generate animal disease models with single amino-acid substitutions. Here, we generated the first HGPS monkey model by delivering a BE mRNA and guide RNA (gRNA) targeting the LMNA gene via microinjection into monkey zygotes. Five out of six newborn monkeys carried the mutation specifically at the target site. HGPS monkeys expressed the toxic form of lamin A, progerin, and recapitulated the typical HGPS phenotypes including growth retardation, bone alterations, and vascular abnormalities. Thus, this monkey model genetically and clinically mimics HGPS in humans, demonstrating that the BE system can efficiently and accurately generate patient-specific disease models in non-human primates.
This study was designed to evaluate ERK5 expression in lung cancer and malignant melanoma progression and to ascertain the involvement of ERK5 signaling in lung cancer and melanoma. We show that ERK5 expression is abundant in human lung cancer samples, and elevated ERK5 expression in lung cancer was linked to the acquisition of increased metastatic and invasive potential. Importantly, we observed a significant correlation between ERK5 activity and FAK expression and its phosphorylation at the Ser910 site. Mechanistically, ERK5 increased the expression of the transcription factor USF1, which could transcriptionally upregulate FAK expression, resulting in FAK signaling activation to promote cell migration. We also provided evidence that the phosphorylation of FAK at Ser910 was due to ERK5 but not ERK1/2, and we then suggested a role for Ser910 in the control of cell motility. In addition, ERK5 had targets in addition to FAK that regulate epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition and cell motility in cancer cells. Taken together, our findings uncover a cancer metastasis-promoting role for ERK5 and provide the rationale for targeting ERK5 as a potential therapeutic approach.