A neural m6A/Ythdf pathway is required for learning and memory in Drosophila

Lijuan Kan, Stanislav Ott, Brian Joseph, Eun Sil Park, Wei Dai, Ralph E. Kleiner, Adam Claridge-Chang, Eric C. Lai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Epitranscriptomic modifications can impact behavior. Here, we used Drosophila melanogaster to study N6-methyladenosine (m6A), the most abundant modification of mRNA. Proteomic and functional analyses confirm its nuclear (Ythdc1) and cytoplasmic (Ythdf) YTH domain proteins as major m6A binders. Assays of short term memory in m6A mutants reveal neural-autonomous requirements of m6A writers working via Ythdf, but not Ythdc1. Furthermore, m6A/Ythdf operate specifically via the mushroom body, the center for associative learning. We map m6A from wild-type and Mettl3 mutant heads, allowing robust discrimination of Mettl3-dependent m6A sites that are highly enriched in 5’ UTRs. Genomic analyses indicate that Drosophila m6A is preferentially deposited on genes with low translational efficiency and that m6A does not affect RNA stability. Nevertheless, functional tests indicate a role for m6A/Ythdf in translational activation. Altogether, our molecular genetic analyses and tissue-specific m6A maps reveal selective behavioral and regulatory defects for the Drosophila Mettl3/Ythdf pathway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1458
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


Dive into the research topics of 'A neural m6A/Ythdf pathway is required for learning and memory in Drosophila'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this