The human acetyltransferase NAT10 has recently been shown to catalyze formation of N4-acetylcytidine (ac4C), a minor nucleobase known to alter RNA structure and function. In order to better understand the role of RNA acetyltransferases in biology and disease, here we report the development and application of chemical methods to study ac4C. First, we demonstrate that ac4C can be conjugated to carrier proteins using optimized protocols. Next, we describe methods to access ac4C-containing RNAs, enabling the screening of anti-ac4C antibodies. Finally, we validate the specificity of an optimized ac4C affinity reagent in the context of cellular RNA by demonstrating its ability to accurately report on chemical deacetylation of ac4C. Overall, these studies provide a powerful new tool for studying ac4C in biological contexts, as well as new insights into the stability and half-life of this highly conserved RNA modification. More broadly, they demonstrate how chemical reactivity may be exploited to aid the development and validation of nucleobase-targeting affinity reagents designed to target the emerging epitranscriptome.
See: Profiling Cytidine Acetylation with Specific Affinity and Reactivity by Wilson R. Sinclair, Daniel Arango, Jonathan H. Shrimp, Thomas T. Zengeya, Justin M. Thomas, David C. Montgomery, Stephen D. Fox, Thorkell Andresson, Shalini Oberdoerffer, and Jordan L. Meier in ACS Chemical Biology, 2017, 12 (12), 2922-2926.