APOBEC3-mediated restriction of RNA virus replication

Sci Rep. 2018 Apr 13;8(1):5960. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-24448-2.


APOBEC3 family members are cytidine deaminases with roles in intrinsic responses to infection by retroviruses and retrotransposons, and in the control of other DNA viruses, such as herpesviruses, parvoviruses and hepatitis B virus. Although effects of APOBEC3 members on viral DNA have been demonstrated, it is not known whether they edit RNA genomes through cytidine deamination. Here, we investigated APOBEC3-mediated restriction of Coronaviridae. In experiments in vitro, three human APOBEC3 proteins (A3C, A3F and A3H) inhibited HCoV-NL63 infection and limited production of progeny virus, but did not cause hypermutation of the coronaviral genome. APOBEC3-mediated restriction was partially dependent on enzyme activity, and was reduced by the use of enzymatically inactive APOBEC3. Moreover, APOBEC3 proteins bound to the coronaviral nucleoprotein, and this interaction also affected viral replication. Although the precise molecular mechanism of deaminase-dependent inhibition of coronavirus replication remains elusive, our results further our understanding of APOBEC-mediated restriction of RNA virus infections.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line
  • Cytidine Deaminase / genetics
  • Cytosine Deaminase / genetics*
  • DNA Viruses / genetics
  • Genome, Viral / genetics
  • Hepatitis B virus / genetics
  • Humans
  • Nucleoproteins / genetics
  • RNA / genetics
  • RNA Viruses / genetics*
  • Virus Replication / genetics*


  • Nucleoproteins
  • RNA
  • Cytosine Deaminase
  • APOBEC3 protein, human
  • Cytidine Deaminase