METTL3 and ALKBH5 oppositely regulate m6A modification of TFEB mRNA, which dictates the fate of hypoxia/reoxygenation-treated cardiomyocytes
H Song, etc Autophagy,
N6-methyladenosine (m6A) mRNA modifications play critical roles in various biological processes. However, no study addresses the role of m6A in macroautophagy/autophagy. Here, we show that m6A modifications are increased in H/R-treated cardiomyocytes and ischemia/reperfusion (I/R)-treated mice heart. We found that METTL3 (methyltransferase like 3) is the primary factor involved in aberrant m6A modification. Silencing METTL3 enhances autophagic flux and inhibits apoptosis in H/R-treated cardiomyocytes. However, overexpression of METTL3 or inhibition of the RNA demethylase ALKBH5 has an opposite effect, suggesting that METTL3 is a negative regulator of autophagy. Mechanistically, METTL3 methylates TFEB, a master regulator of lysosomal biogenesis and autophagy genes, at two m6A residues in the 3-UTR, which promotes the association of the RNA-binding protein HNRNPD with TFEB pre-mRNA and subsequently decreases the expression levels of TFEB. Further experiments show that autophagic flux enhanced by METTL3 deficiency is TFEB dependent. In turn, TFEB regulates the expression levels of METTL3 and ALKBH5 in opposite directions: it induces ALKBH5 and inhibits METTL3. TFEB binds to the ALKBH5 promoter and activates its transcription. In contrast, inhibition of METTL3 by TFEB does not involve transcriptional repression but rather downregulation of mRNA stability, thereby establishing a negative feedback loop. Together, our work uncovers a critical link between METTL3-ALKBH5 and autophagy, providing insight into the functional importance of the reversible mRNA m6A methylation and its modulators in ischemic heart disease.