Cell cycle-dependent regulation of the human RNA cap methyltransferase (RNMT)

  • Michael Aregger

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    The N-7 methylguanosine cap structure is conserved from yeast to man. It is essential for cell proliferation as it influences several steps in eukaryotic gene expression including transcription, pre-mRNA processing, RNA export and translation. The N-7 methylguanosine cap is added co-transcriptionally to RNA pol II transcripts. In mammals, two enzymes catalyse the synthesis of the N7-methylguanosince cap. RNGTT adds an inverted guanosine group to the first transcribed nucleotide and RNMT methylates the guanosine cap at the N7-position.
    RNMT consists of a catalytic domain and an N-terminal domain that is absent in
    lower eukaryotes. Experiments presented in this thesis revealed that the N-terminus mediates RNMT recruitment to transcription start sites. Furthermore, it was found that the RNMT N-terminal domain is phosphorylated at Threonine-77 (T77) by CDK1/Cyclin B in a cell cycle-dependent manner during G2/M-phase.
    RNMT T77 phosphorylation activates cap methyltransferase activity in vitro. Furthermore, it negatively regulates the interaction of RNMT with KPNA2 (Importin-a), which was found to inhibit RNMT activity in vitro. RNMT T77 phosphorylation is required for normal cell proliferation suggesting an important biological function. Initial experiments indicated that RNMT T77 phosphorylation functions to regulate gene expression in a gene-specific manner. Future work is focused on establishing an experimental system to perform a genome-wide study in order to elucidate which transcripts are affected by RNMT T77 phosphorylation.
    To summarise, this study for the first time revealed that the RNA cap methyltransferase activity is regulated in a cell-cycle dependent manner.
    Date of Award2013
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorVictoria Cowling (Supervisor)


    • RNMT
    • Cap methylation
    • Cap methyltransferase
    • Phosphorylation
    • Cell cycle
    • Importin alpha
    • KPNA2

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