An RNA-binding cytidine deaminase (APOBEC-1) and unidentified auxiliary protein(s) are required for apolipoprotein (apo) B mRNA editing. A sequence motif on apoB mRNA ("mooring sequence," nucleotides 6671-6681) is obligatory for the editing of cytidine 6666 (C6666), the only cytidine on apoB mRNA converted to uridine in normal animals. Transgenic animals with hepatic overexpression of APOBEC-1 develop liver tumors, and other non-apoB mRNAs are edited, suggesting a loss of the normally precise specificity. In this study, we examined apoB mRNA from these transgenic animals to determine if cytidines aside from C6666 are edited. Multiple cytidines downstream from C6666 in apoB mRNA were edited extensively by the overexpressed APOBEC-1. This pathophysiological "hyperediting" could be mimicked in vitro by incubating a synthetic apoB RNA substrate with the transgenic mouse liver extracts. Multiple cytidines in the synthetic apoB RNA were edited by recombinant APOBEC-1 but only with supplementation of the auxiliary protein(s). Mutations in the mooring sequence markedly decreased the normal editing of C6666 but, surprisingly, increased the hyperediting of downstream cytidines. Furthermore, cytidines in an apoB RNA substrate lacking the mooring sequence were also edited in vitro. These results indicate that the hyperediting of apoB mRNA by overexpressed APOBEC-1 depends upon auxiliary protein(s) but is independent of the mooring sequence motif. These results suggest that hyperediting may represent the first step in a two-step recognition model for normal apoB mRNA editing.