The Tudor SND1 protein is an m6A RNA reader essential for replication of Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus.
Baquero-Perez B., Antanaviciute A., Yonchev ID., Carr IM., Wilson SA., Whitehouse A.
N6-methyladenosine (m6A) is the most abundant internal RNA modification of cellular mRNAs. m6A is recognised by YTH domain-containing proteins, which selectively bind to m6A-decorated RNAs regulating their turnover and translation. Using an m6A-modified hairpin present in the Kaposi's sarcoma associated herpesvirus (KSHV) ORF50 RNA, we identified seven members from the 'Royal family' as putative m6A readers, including SND1. RIP-seq and eCLIP analysis characterised the SND1 binding profile transcriptome-wide, revealing SND1 as an m6A reader. We further demonstrate that the m6A modification of the ORF50 RNA is critical for SND1 binding, which in turn stabilises the ORF50 transcript. Importantly, SND1 depletion leads to inhibition of KSHV early gene expression showing that SND1 is essential for KSHV lytic replication. This work demonstrates that members of the 'Royal family' have m6A-reading ability, greatly increasing their epigenetic functions beyond protein methylation.