APOBEC3 Interference during Replication of Viral Genomes

Viruses. 2015 Jun 11;7(6):2999-3018. doi: 10.3390/v7062757.


Co-evolution of viruses and their hosts has reached a fragile and dynamic equilibrium that allows viral persistence, replication and transmission. In response, infected hosts have developed strategies of defense that counteract the deleterious effects of viral infections. In particular, single-strand DNA editing by Apolipoprotein B Editing Catalytic subunits proteins 3 (APOBEC3s) is a well-conserved mechanism of mammalian innate immunity that mutates and inactivates viral genomes. In this review, we describe the mechanisms of APOBEC3 editing during viral replication, the viral strategies that prevent APOBEC3 activity and the consequences of APOBEC3 modulation on viral fitness and host genome integrity. Understanding the mechanisms involved reveals new prospects for therapeutic intervention.

Keywords: APOBEC3; cytidine deaminase; hyper-mutation; hypo-mutation; quasi-species; viral replication.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cytosine Deaminase / metabolism*
  • Genetic Variation
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions*
  • Humans
  • Immune Evasion*
  • Mammals
  • Mutation
  • Virus Replication*
  • Viruses / immunology*


  • Cytosine Deaminase