Comment | Published:

Charting the unknown epitranscriptome

Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology volume 18, pages 339340 (2017) | Download Citation


RNA modifications can alter RNA structure–function relationships and various cellular processes. However, the genomic distribution and biological roles of most RNA modifications remain uncharacterized. Here, we propose using phage display antibody technology and direct sequencing through nanopores to facilitate systematic interrogation of the distribution, location and dynamics of RNA modifications.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1.

    et al. N6-methyladenosine in nuclear RNA is a major substrate of the obesity-associated FTO. Nat. Chem. Biol. 7, 885–887 (2011).

  2. 2.

    et al. The birth of the Epitranscriptome: deciphering the function of RNA modifications. Genome Biology 13, 175 (2012).

  3. 3.

    et al. Comprehensive analysis of mRNA methylation reveals enrichment in 3′ UTRs and near stop codons. Cell 149, 1635–1646 (2012).

  4. 4.

    et al. Topology of the human and mouse m6A RNA methylomes revealed by m6A-seq. Nature 485, 201–206 (2012).

  5. 5.

    et al. The reverse transcription signature of N-1-methyladenosine in RNA-Seq is sequence dependent. Nucleic Acids Res. 43, 9950–9964 (2015).

  6. 6.

    , , & Selection of human antibody fragments by phage display. Nat. Protoc. 2, 3001–3008 (2007).

  7. 7.

    et al. Detecting DNA cytosine methylation using nanopore sequencing. Nat. Methods 14, 407–410 (2017).

  8. 8.

    et al. Highly parallel direct RNA sequencing on an array of nanopores. bioRxiv (2016).

Download references

Author information


  1. Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Darlinghurst, NSW 2010, Australia.

    • Eva Maria Novoa
    •  & John S. Mattick
  2. University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia.

    • Eva Maria Novoa
    •  & John S. Mattick
  3. Weill Cornell Medicine, New York, NY 10021, USA.

    • Christopher E. Mason


  1. Search for Eva Maria Novoa in:

  2. Search for Christopher E. Mason in:

  3. Search for John S. Mattick in:

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Eva Maria Novoa or Christopher E. Mason or John S. Mattick.

About this article

Publication history



Further reading

Newsletter Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing