Activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID) is essential for antibody class switch recombination (CSR) and somatic hypermutation (SHM). AID originally was postulated to function as an RNA-editing enzyme, based on its strong homology with apolipoprotein B mRNA-editing enzyme, catalytic polypeptide 1 (APOBEC1), the enzyme that edits apolipoprotein B-100 mRNA in the presence of the APOBEC cofactor APOBEC1 complementation factor/APOBEC complementation factor (A1CF/ACF). Because A1CF is structurally similar to heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoproteins (hnRNPs), we investigated the involvement of several well-known hnRNPs in AID function by using siRNA knockdown and clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)/CRISPR-associated protein 9-mediated disruption. We found that hnRNP K deficiency inhibited DNA cleavage and thereby induced both CSR and SHM, whereas hnRNP L deficiency inhibited only CSR and somewhat enhanced SHM. Interestingly, both hnRNPs exhibited RNA-dependent interactions with AID, and mutant forms of these proteins containing deletions in the RNA-recognition motif failed to rescue CSR. Thus, our study suggests that hnRNP K and hnRNP L may serve as A1CF-like cofactors in AID-mediated CSR and SHM.
Keywords: B cell; IgH; activation-induced cytidine deaminase; class switch recombination; somatic hypermutation.