Composition and function of the eukaryotic N-terminal acetyltransferase subunits

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2003 Aug 15;308(1):1-11. doi: 10.1016/s0006-291x(03)01316-0.


Saccharomyces cerevisiae contains three N-terminal acetyltransferases (NATs), NatA, NatB, and NatC, composed of the following catalytic and auxiliary subunits: Ard1p and Nat1p (NatA); Nat3p and Mdm20p (NatB); and Mak3p, Mak10, and Mak31p (NatC). The overall patterns of N-terminally acetylated proteins and NAT orthologous genes suggest that yeast and higher eukaryotes have similar systems for N-terminal acetylation. The differential expression of certain NAT subunits during development or in carcinomas of higher eukaryotes suggests that the NATs are more highly expressed in cells undergoing rapid protein synthesis. Although Mak3p is functionally the same in yeast and plants, findings with TE2 (a human Ard1p ortholog) and Tbdn100 (a mouse Nat1p ortholog) suggest that certain of the NAT subunits may have functions other than their role in NATs or that these orthologs are not functionally equivalent. Thus, the vertebrate NATs remain to be definitively identified, and, furthermore, it remains to be seen if any of the yeast NATs contribute to other functions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acetylation
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Arylamine N-Acetyltransferase / chemistry*
  • Arylamine N-Acetyltransferase / physiology*
  • Catalysis
  • Cell Division / physiology
  • Eukaryotic Cells / enzymology
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid


  • Arylamine N-Acetyltransferase