Modified nucleotides in messenger RNA (mRNA) are an essential addition to the standard genetic code of four nucleotides in animals, plants and their viruses. The emerging field of epitranscriptomics examines nucleotide modifications in mRNA and their impact on gene expression. The low abundancy of nucleotide modifications and technical limitations, however, have hampered systematic analysis of their occurrence and functions. Selective chemical and immunological identification of modified nucleotides has revealed global candidate topology maps for many modifications in mRNA, but further technical advances are required to increase confidence. Single molecule sequencing introduced by Oxford Nanopore now promises to overcome such limitations and we will summarize current progress with a particular focus on the bioinformatic challenges of this novel sequencing technology.
- mRNA modifications
- 2'-O-ribose methylation