Letter to the Editor

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Short sequence motif dynamics in the SARS-CoV-2 genome suggest a role for cytosine deamination in CpG reduction
Mukhtar Sadykov1,† , Tobias Mourier1,† , Qingtian Guan1 , Arnab Pain1,2,*
1King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Pathogen Genomics Laboratory, Biological and Environmental Science and Engineering (BESE), Thuwal- Jeddah 23955-6900, Saudi Arabia
2Research Center for Zoonosis Control, Global Institution for Collaborative Research and Education (GI-CoRE), Hokkaido University, N20 W10 Kita-Ku, Sapporo 001-0020, Japan
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*Correspondence to:Arnab Pain , Email:arnab.pain@kaust.edu.sa
J Mol Cell Biol, Volume 13, Issue 3, March 2021, 225-227,  https://doi.org/10.1093/jmcb/mjab011
Keyword: virus evolution, genome evolution, genome biology, virus‒host interaction

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Dear Editor,

The apolipoprotein B editing complex (APOBEC) protein family members are host antiviral enzymes known for catalyzing cytosine to uracil (C>U) deamination in foreign single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) and RNA (ssRNA) (Blanc and Davidson, 2010; Salter and Smith, 2018). Enzymatic target motifs for most of the APOBEC enzymes have been experimentally identified, among which the most common ones are 5′-[T/U]C-3′ and 5′-CC-3′ for DNA/RNA substrates (Salter and Smith, 2018; McDaniel et al., 2020). It was recently suggested that SARS-CoV-2 undergoes genome editing by host-dependent RNA-editing proteins such as APOBEC (Di Giorgio et al., 2020; Rice et al., 2020; Simmonds, 2020; Schmidt et al., 2021).