L-Azetidine-2-carboxylic acid (AZC), a toxic four-membered ring analogue of L-proline, is transported into the cells via proline transporters. It causes misfolding of the proteins into which it is incorporated competitively with L-proline and thereby inhibits the growth of the cells. We recently have discovered, on the chromosome of Saccharomyces cerevisiae Sigma1278b, a novel gene MPR1 required for the resistance of Sigma1278 background strains to toxic AZC. This gene was missing in the particular yeast strain used for the genomic sequence determination. Although the protein sequence was homologous to that of the S. cerevisiae transcriptional regulator, Mpr1p did not affect the expression of genes involved in proline uptake. However, gene expression in Escherichia coli and enzymatic analysis showed that the MPR1 gene encodes a novel AZC acetyltransferase, by which L-proline itself and other L-proline analogues are not acetylated. Mpr1p was considered to be a member of the N-acetyltransferase superfamily based on the results of an Ala-scan mutagenesis through the highly conserved region involved in binding acetyl-CoA in members of the superfamily. Our findings suggest that Mpr1p detoxifies AZC by acetylating it in the cytoplasm. This enzyme might be utilized as a selective marker in a wide variety of organisms, because the cells expressing the MPR1 gene acquire the AZC-resistant phenotype.