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Uirusu. 2012 Jun;62(1):27-38.

[Molecular evolution of physiologically functioning anti-retroviral APOBEC3 deaminases].

[Article in Japanese]

Author information

  • 1Department of Immunology, Kinki University School of Medicine, 377-2 Ohno-Higashi, Osaka-Sayama, Osaka 589-8511, Japan. masaaki@med.kindai.ac.jp


Recent in vivo findings clearly indicate that mammalian cytidine deaminase APOBEC3 can function as a physiological restriction factor to retrotransposons and infectious retroviruses. However, some retroviruses, including primate lentiviruses, have evolved to counter their natural host's APOBEC3. To survive this arms race, primates seem to have acquired multiple copies of APOBEC3 genes. Surprisingly, however, during the process of the diversification of rodent species, as well as the human race, some ancestral individuals acquired genetic variants that reduced the protein levels of APOBEC3 expression, and these variants currently show unexpectedly wide geographic distributions. These data suggest that in the absence of a heavy burden of infectious retroviruses, high-level expression of APOBEC3 cytidine deaminase might be costly to the integrity of the host genome.

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