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J Biol Chem. 2011 Jul 29;286(30):26568-75. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M111.235721. Epub 2011 Jun 9.

Phosphorylation directly regulates the intrinsic DNA cytidine deaminase activity of activation-induced deaminase and APOBEC3G protein.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics, Institute for Molecular Virology, and Center for Genome Engineering, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455, USA.


The beneficial effects of DNA cytidine deamination by activation-induced deaminase (AID; antibody gene diversification) and APOBEC3G (retrovirus restriction) are tempered by probable contributions to carcinogenesis. Multiple regulatory mechanisms serve to minimize this detrimental outcome. Here, we show that phosphorylation of a conserved threonine attenuates the intrinsic activity of activation-induced deaminase (Thr-27) and APOBEC3G (Thr-218). Phospho-null alanine mutants maintain intrinsic DNA deaminase activity, whereas phospho-mimetic glutamate mutants are inactive. The phospho-mimetic variants fail to mediate isotype switching in activated mouse splenic B lymphocytes or suppress HIV-1 replication in human T cells. Our data combine to suggest a model in which this critical threonine acts as a phospho-switch that fine-tunes the adaptive and innate immune responses and helps protect mammalian genomic DNA from procarcinogenic lesions.

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