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Mol Cell. 2002 Nov;10(5):1247-53.

RNA editing enzyme APOBEC1 and some of its homologs can act as DNA mutators.

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  • 1Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 2QH, United Kingdom. rsharris@mrc-lmb.cam.ac.uk


APOBEC1 is the catalytic component of an RNA editing complex but shows homology to activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID), a protein whose function is to potentiate diversification of immunoglobulin gene DNA. Here, we show that APOBEC1 and its homologs APOBEC3C and APOBEC3G exhibit potent DNA mutator activity in an E. coli assay. Indeed, like AID, these proteins appear to trigger DNA mutation through dC deamination. However, each protein exhibits a distinct local target sequence specificity. The results reveal the existence of a family of potential active dC/dG mutators, with possible implications for cancer.

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