The chemical building blocks that make up RNA are central to its function. For a long time, it was thought that RNAs were made up primarily of four main bases-- A, G, C, and U. Recently, however, we and others have shown that modified forms of these bases also exist and are found in thousands of cellular mRNAs.

 


 

One modified base which we have found to be particularly prevalent throughout the transcriptome is N6-methyladenosine, or m6A, which occurs when A residues become methylated.

Many studies in our laboratory focus on m6A and how it contributes to fundamental aspects of gene expression control. We are also interested in understanding how m6A as well as other RNA modifications shape gene expression programs in the nervous system.