Epitranscriptomic marks, in the form of enzyme catalyzed RNA modifications, play important gene regulatory roles in response to environmental and physiological conditions. However, little is known with respect to how acute toxic doses of pharmaceuticals influence the epitranscriptome. Here we define how acetaminophen (APAP) induces epitranscriptomic reprogramming and how the writer Alkylation Repair Homolog 8 (Alkbh8) plays a key gene regulatory role in the response. Alkbh8 modifies tRNA selenocysteine (tRNASec) to translationally regulate the production of glutathione peroxidases (Gpx’s) and other selenoproteins, with Gpx enzymes known to play protective roles during APAP toxicity. We demonstrate that APAP increases toxicity and markers of damage, and decreases selenoprotein levels in Alkbh8 deficient mouse livers, when compared to wildtype. APAP also promotes large scale reprogramming of many RNA marks comprising the liver tRNA epitranscriptome including: 5-methoxycarbonylmethyluridine (mcm5U), isopentenyladenosine (i6A), pseudouridine (Ψ), and 1-methyladenosine (m1A) modifications linked to tRNASec and many other tRNA’s. Alkbh8 deficiency also leads to wide-spread epitranscriptomic dysregulation in response to APAP, demonstrating that a single writer defect can promote downstream changes to a large spectrum of RNA modifications. Our study highlights the importance of RNA modifications and translational responses to APAP, identifies writers as key modulators of stress responses in vivo and supports the idea that the epitranscriptome may play important roles in responses to pharmaceuticals.
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Evke, Sara; Li, Qishan; Melendez, Juan Andres; and Begley, Thomas John, "Epitranscriptomic Reprogramming Is Required to Prevent Stress and Damage from Acetaminophen" (2022). Biological Sciences Faculty Scholarship. 32.