Mammalian apolipoproteinB (apoB) RNA editing is a site-specific deamination reaction that mediates the C to U conversion responsible for apoB48 production in the mammalian small intestine. This process is not detected in chicken apoB RNA. Mammalian apoB RNA editing is mediated by a multicomponent enzyme complex that includes a single catalytic subunit, apobec-1. In order to examine the evolution of apobec-1, we have cloned and characterized an orthologous cytidine deaminase cDNA isolated from chicken small intestine. Northern blot analysis revealed expression restricted to the small intestine, colon and lung but not the liver or other tissues. The cDNA encodes a single 31 kDa protein with features reminiscent of other cytidine deaminases and with approximately 39% overall homology to rat apobec-1. The recombinant protein is a cytidine deaminase with activity on a monomeric substrate that was found to be zinc-dependent. However, no RNA editing activity was detectable towards cytidine nucleotides presented in the context of an optimally configured mammalian apoB RNA template. These studies provide information concerning the evolution of the apoB RNA editing machinery and indicate that a chicken small intestinal cytidine deaminase with homology to apobec-1 demonstrates no activity on an RNA substrate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1075-1081
Number of pages7
JournalBiological Chemistry
Issue number8-9
StatePublished - 1998


  • Computer modeling
  • Cytosine nucleotide deaminase
  • Zinc coordination


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