APOBEC1 is a cytidine deaminase that edits messenger RNAs and was the first enzyme in the APOBEC family to be functionally characterized. Under appropriate conditions APOBEC1 also deaminates deoxycytidine in single-stranded DNA (ssDNA). The other ten members of the APOBEC family have not been fully characterized however several have deoxycytidine deaminase activity on ssDNAs. Despite the nucleic acid substrate preferences of different APOBEC proteins, a common feature appears to be their intrinsic ability to bind to RNA as well as to ssDNA. RNA binding to APOBEC proteins together with protein-protein interactions, post-translation modifications and subcellular localization serve as biological modulators controlling the DNA mutagenic activity of these potentially genotoxic proteins.
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