Mettl14-mediated m6A modification is essential for visual function and retinal photoreceptor survival

Yeming Yang, Ping Shuai, Xiao Li, Kuanxiang Sun, Xiaoyan Jiang, Wenjing Liu, Weidong Le, Haisong Jiang, Yuping Liu, Xianjun Zhu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: As the most abundant epigenetic modification of eukaryotic mRNA, N6-methyladenosine (m6A) modification has been shown to play a role in mammalian nervous system development and function by regulating mRNA synthesis and degeneration. However, the role of m6A modification in retinal photoreceptors remains unknown. Results: We generated the first retina-specific Mettl14-knockout mouse models using the Rho-Cre and HRGP-Cre lines and investigated the functions of Mettl14 in retinal rod and cone photoreceptors. Our data showed that loss of Mettl14 in rod cells causes a weakened scotopic photoresponse and rod degeneration. Further study revealed the ectopic accumulation of multiple outer segment (OS) proteins in the inner segment (IS). Deficiency of Mettl14 in cone cells led to the mislocalization of cone opsin proteins and the progressive death of cone cells. Moreover, Mettl14 depletion resulted in drastic decreases in METTL3/WTAP levels and reduced m6A methylation levels. Mechanistically, transcriptomic analyses in combination with MeRIP-seq illustrated that m6A depletion via inactivation of Mettl14 resulted in reduced expression levels of multiple phototransduction- and cilium-associated genes, which subsequently led to compromised ciliogenesis and impaired synthesis and transport of OS-residing proteins in rod cells. Conclusions: Our data demonstrate that Mettl14 plays an important role in regulating phototransduction and ciliogenesis events and is essential for photoreceptor function and survival, highlighting the importance of m6A modification in visual function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number140
JournalBMC Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 13 2022


  • Ciliogenesis
  • METTL14
  • N6-methyladenosine
  • Photoreceptor degeneration
  • Phototransduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Structural Biology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Plant Science
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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