Innate immune signaling induces high levels of TC-specific deaminase activity in primary monocyte-derived cells through expression of APOBEC3A isoforms.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


The Journal of biological chemistry, Volume 285, Issue 36, p.27753-66 (2010)


2010, Amino Acid Sequence, Animals, Base Sequence, Cattle, Cell Line, Clinical Research Division, Cytidine Deaminase, Flow Cytometry Core Facility, Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic, Gene Knockdown Techniques, Humans, Immunity, Innate, Interferon-alpha, Macrophages, Molecular Sequence Data, Monocytes, Protein Biosynthesis, PROTEINS, Repetitive Sequences, Nucleic Acid, RNA, Small Interfering, Shared Resources, Signal Transduction, Substrate Specificity, Toll-Like Receptors, Transcription, Genetic


In HIV-1-infected individuals, G-to-A hypermutation is found in HIV-1 DNA isolated from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). These mutations are thought to result from editing by one or more host enzymes in the APOBEC3 (A3) family of cytidine deaminases, which act on CC (APOBEC3G) and TC (other A3 proteins) dinucleotide motifs in DNA (edited cytidine underlined). Although many A3 proteins display high levels of deaminase activity in model systems, only low levels of A3 deaminase activity have been found in primary cells examined to date. In contrast, here we report high levels of deaminase activity at TC motifs when whole PBMCs or isolated primary monocyte-derived cells were treated with interferon-alpha (IFNalpha) or IFNalpha-inducing toll-like receptor ligands. Induction of TC-specific deaminase activity required new transcription and translation and correlated with the appearance of two APOBEC3A (A3A) isoforms. Knockdown of A3A in monocytes with siRNA abolished TC-specific deaminase activity, confirming that A3A isoforms are responsible for all TC-specific deaminase activity observed. Both A3A isoforms appear to be enzymatically active; moreover, our mutational studies raise the possibility that the smaller isoform results from internal translational initiation. In contrast to the high levels of TC-specific activity observed in IFNalpha-treated monocytes, CC-specific activity remained low in PBMCs, suggesting that A3G deaminase activity is relatively inhibited, unlike that of A3A. Together, these findings suggest that deaminase activity of A3A isoforms in monocytes and macrophages may play an important role in host defense against viruses.