The dynamic changes of RNA N6-methyl-adenosine (m6A) during cancer progression contribute to quick adaption to microenvironmental changes. Here, we profiled the cancer cell m6A dynamics in the hypoxic tumor niche and its pathological consequences in glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). The m6A demethylase ALKBH5 was induced in GBM models under hypoxic conditions and was associated with a hypoxic gene signature in GBM patient samples. Depletion or inactivation of ALKBH5 in GBM cells significantly suppressed hypoxia-induced tumor-associated macrophage (TAM) recruitment and immunosuppression in allograft tumors. Expression and secretion of CXCL8/IL8 were significantly suppressed in ALKBH5-deficient tumors. However, ALKBH5 did not regulate CXCL8 m6A directly. Instead, hypoxia-induced ALKBH5 erased m6A deposition from the lncRNA NEAT1, stabilizing the transcript and facilitating NEAT1-mediated paraspeckle assembly, which led to relocation of the transcriptional repressor SFPQ from the CXCL8 promoter to paraspeckles and, ultimately, upregulation of CXCL8/IL8 expression. Accordingly, ectopic expression of CXCL8 in ALKBH5-deficient GBM cells partially restored TAM recruitment and tumor progression. Together, this study links hypoxia-induced epitranscriptomic changes to the emergence of an immunosuppressive microenvironment facilitating tumor evasion.


Hypoxia induces tumor immune microenvironment remodeling through an ALKBH5-mediated epigenetic and epitranscriptomic mechanism, providing potential immunotherapeutic strategies for treating glioblastoma.

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