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Research Mentor and Department
MT-A70 is the S-adenosylmethionine-binding subunit of mRNA methyltransferase (MTase) in humans, found to catalyze the methylation of internal adenosines in eukaryotic mRNA. However, the exact function this plays in cellular processes remains unclear. Here, using bioinformatics analysis we identified two proteins encoded by MTA1 and MTA2 genes in Tetrahymena thermophila that each contain an MT-A70-like domain. MTA1-YFP and MTA2-YFP fusion proteins exhibited macronuclear localization during both vegetative growth and conjugation which supports the hypothesis that they function in macronuclei, which may be related to mRNA methylation. During conjugation, MTA1-YFP and MTA2-YFP localized to both parental and new developing macronuclei. MTA1-YFP and MTA2-YFP expression patterns and DNA microarray analyses suggested that they may play important roles in the development of the new macronuclei. In order to further elucidate the function of these proteins in Tetrahymena, RNA Immunoprecipitation will be performed to identify possible RNA targets that these genes may bind and methylate.