Transient overexpression of exogenous APOBEC3A causes C-to-U RNA editing of thousands of genes

RNA Biol. 2017 May 4;14(5):603-610. doi: 10.1080/15476286.2016.1184387. Epub 2016 May 5.


APOBEC3A cytidine deaminase induces site-specific C-to-U RNA editing of hundreds of genes in monocytes exposed to hypoxia and/or interferons and in pro-inflammatory macrophages. To examine the impact of APOBEC3A overexpression, we transiently expressed APOBEC3A in HEK293T cell line and performed RNA sequencing. APOBEC3A overexpression induces C-to-U editing at more than 4,200 sites in transcripts of 3,078 genes resulting in protein recoding of 1,110 genes. We validate recoding RNA editing of genes associated with breast cancer, hematologic neoplasms, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer disease and primary pulmonary hypertension. These results highlight the fundamental impact of APOBEC3A overexpression on human transcriptome by widespread RNA editing.

Keywords: Cytidine deaminase; RNA editing; RNA seq; disease genes; epitranscriptomics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Cytidine Deaminase / genetics
  • Cytidine Deaminase / metabolism*
  • Disease / genetics
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia / metabolism
  • Interferons / metabolism
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Monocytes / metabolism
  • Proteins / genetics
  • Proteins / metabolism*
  • RNA / genetics
  • RNA / metabolism*
  • RNA Editing*
  • Transcriptome*


  • Proteins
  • RNA
  • Interferons
  • APOBEC3A protein, human
  • Cytidine Deaminase