Cloned mouse N-acetyltransferases: enzymatic properties of expressed Nat-1 and Nat-2 gene products

Mol Pharmacol. 1992 Aug;42(2):265-72.


N-Acetylation plays an important role in the metabolism of a wide variety of hydrazine drugs and arylamine drugs and carcinogens. Humans have genetically determined differences in their N-acetyltransferase activities and are phenotypically classified as rapid or slow acetylators. Mice have a similar genetic polymorphism in N-acetyltransferase activity and have been used as models of the human polymorphism in many studies of the toxicology and carcinogenicity of arylamines. Recently, two N-acetyltransferase genes, Nat-1 and Nat-2, were cloned from rapid (C57BL/6J) and slow (A/J) acetylator mouse strains. The genomic clone encoding NAT-1 is identical in rapid and slow acetylator mouse strains, whereas the clone encoding NAT-2 differs between rapid and slow strains by a single base pair, which changes the encoded amino acid from Asn99 in the rapid acetylator strain to Ile99 in the slow acetylator strain. In this report, the N-acetylation polymorphism in mice was investigated by transiently expressing the cloned N-acetyltransferase genes in COS-1 cells. The intronless coding regions of Nat-1 and Nat-2 showed different substrate specificities; isoniazid was a preferred substrate for NAT-1, whereas p-aminobenzoic acid was preferred for NAT-2(99asn) and NAT-2(99ile). All three enzymes acetylated 2-aminofluorene, but none of them acetylated sulfamethazine. Kinetic constants determined for the expressed enzymes with 2-aminofluorene and p-aminobenzoic acid indicated that Km values were not significantly different between the enzymes, although the Vmax value of NAT-2(99asn) was consistently 2-3-fold higher than that of NAT-1 or NAT-2(99ile). Nat-1 and Nat-2 encoded mRNAs of approximately 1.4 kilobases in livers of rapid and slow acetylators. Nat-2 mRNA was more abundant in liver than Nat-1 mRNA. The abundance of Nat-2 mRNA and Nat-1 mRNA was equivalent in both rapid and slow acetylator mouse strain livers. Incubation of transfected COS-1 cell cytosols at 37 degrees showed that the time for decline of NAT activity to 50% of its initial value was 45 hr for NAT-1, 60 hr for NAT-2(99asn), and 4 hr for NAT-2(99ile). This 15-fold difference in the heat stability of the rapid and slow isoforms of NAT activity was also observed in cytosols from rapid and slow acetylator livers. Comparison of the rates of translation of the rapid and slow isoforms of NAT-2 in an in vitro system showed that NAT-2(99asn) was translated at approximately twice the rate of NAT-2(99ile).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acetyltransferases / genetics*
  • Animals
  • Blotting, Northern
  • Chlorocebus aethiops
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Cytosol / enzymology
  • Cytosol / physiology
  • Enzyme Stability
  • Gene Expression / genetics*
  • Hot Temperature
  • Introns / genetics
  • Kidney / cytology
  • Kidney / enzymology
  • Kidney / physiology
  • Kinetics
  • Liver / enzymology
  • Liver / physiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred A
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Phenotype
  • Protein Biosynthesis / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Substrate Specificity


  • RNA, Messenger
  • Acetyltransferases