Science in China Series C: Life Sciences

, Volume 52, Issue 10, pp 893-902

First online:

APOBEC deaminases-mutases with defensive roles for immunity

  • Courtney ProchnowAffiliated withMolecular and Computational Biology, University of Southern California
  • , Ronda BransteitterAffiliated withMolecular and Computational Biology, University of Southern California
  • , XiaoJiang S. ChenAffiliated withMolecular and Computational Biology, University of Southern California Email author 

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In recent years, tremendous progress has been made in the elucidation of the biological roles and molecular mechanisms of the apolioprotein B mRNA-editing enzyme catalytic polypeptide (APOBEC) family of enzymes. The APOBEC family of cytidine deaminases has important functional roles within the adaptive and innate immune system. Activation induced cytidine deaminase (AID) plays a central role in the biochemical steps of somatic hypermutation and class switch recombination during antibody maturation, and the APOBEC 3 enzymes are able to inhibit the mobility of retroelements and the replication of retroviruses and DNA viruses, such as the human immunodeficiency virus type-1 and hepatitis B virus. Recent advances in structural and functional studies of the APOBEC enzymes provide new biochemical insights for how these enzymes carry out their biological roles. In this review, we provide an overview of these recent advances in the APOBEC field with a special emphasis on AID and APOBEC3G.


APOBEC cytidine deaminase activation induced cytidine deamination somatic hypermutation class switch recombination HyperIgM 2 syndrome human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) DNA deamination