The rabbit as an orthologous small animal model for APOBEC3A oncogenesis

Oncotarget. 2018 Jun 12;9(45):27809-27822. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.25593.


APOBEC3 are cytidine deaminases that convert cytidine to uridine residues. APOBEC3A and APOBEC3B enzymes able to target genomic DNA are involved in oncogenesis of a sizeable proportion of human cancers. While the APOBEC3 locus is conserved in mammals, it encodes from 1-7 genes. APOBEC3A is conserved in most mammals, although absent in pigs, cats and throughout Rodentia whereas APOBEC3B is restricted to the Primate order. Here we show that the rabbit APOBEC3 locus encodes two genes of which APOBEC3A enzyme is strictly orthologous to human APOBEC3A. The rabbit enzyme is expressed in the nucleus and the cytoplasm, it can deaminate cytidine, 5-methcytidine residues, nuclear DNA and induce double-strand DNA breaks. The rabbit APOBEC3A enzyme is negatively regulated by the rabbit TRIB3 pseudokinase protein which is guardian of genome integrity, just like its human counterpart. This indicates that the APOBEC3A/TRIB3 pair is conserved over approximately 100 million years. The rabbit APOBEC3A gene is widely expressed in rabbit tissues, unlike human APOBEC3A. These data demonstrate that rabbit could be used as a small animal model for studying APOBEC3 driven oncogenesis.

Keywords: APOBEC3A; animal model; cancer; cytidine deaminase; rabbit.