Contribution of cytosine desaminases of AID/APOBEC family to carcinogenesis

  • Irina Zotova Vavilov Institute of General Genetics Russian Academy of Sciences, Saint Petersburg Branch, Universitetskaya nab., 7–9, Saint Petersburg, 199034, Russian Federation; Department of Genetics and Biotechnology, Faculty of Biology, Saint Petersburg State University, Universitetskaya nab., 7–9, Saint Petersburg, 199034, Russian Federation
  • Elena Stepchenkova Vavilov Institute of General Genetics Russian Academy of Sciences, Saint Petersburg Branch, Universitetskaya nab., 7–9, Saint Petersburg, 199034, Russian Federation; Department of Genetics and Biotechnology, Faculty of Biology, Saint Petersburg State University, Universitetskaya nab., 7–9, Saint Petersburg, 199034, Russian Federation
  • Youri Pavlov Eppley Institute for Research in Cancer and Allied Diseases, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE, 68198, USA; Departments of Microbiology and Pathology; Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; Genetics, Cell Biology and Anatomy, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE, 68198, USA


Cytosine deaminases of the AID/APOBEC family have a weighty influence on human health. These enzymes are part of the innate and humoral immunity; they participate in lipid metabolism and muscle development, protect cells from viruses and regulate retrotransposition. If the activity of AID/APOBEC deaminases is misregulated, they can become “weapons of mass destruction,” causing deaminations in unprotected single-stranded DNA regions leading to genome-wide mutagenesis. Ultimately, mutations contribute to cell malignancy and rapid evolution of cancer cells, helping them to evade the organism’s defense. Also, hypermutable tumor cells develop resistance to anti-cancer drugs. Here we overview current understanding of the structure, functions, and regulation of AID/APOBEC cytosine deaminases in connection to carcinogenesis.


Cytosine deaminases AID/APOBEC, DNA damage, mutation, cancer


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How to Cite
Zotova, I., Stepchenkova, E., & Pavlov, Y. (2019). Contribution of cytosine desaminases of AID/APOBEC family to carcinogenesis. Biological Communications, 64(2), 110–123.
Review communication