Arylamine N-acetyltransferases

Expert Opin Drug Metab Toxicol. 2007 Apr;3(2):169-84. doi: 10.1517/17425255.3.2.169.


Arylamine N-acetyltransferases (NATs), known as drug- and carcinogen-metabolising enzymes, have had historic roles in cellular metabolism, carcinogenesis and pharmacogenetics, including epidemiological studies of disease susceptibility. NAT research in the past 5 years builds on that history and additionally paves the way for establishing the following new concepts in biology and opportunities in drug discovery: i) NAT polymorphisms can be used as tools in molecular anthropology to study human evolution; ii) tracing NAT protein synthesis and degradation within cells is providing insight into protein folding in cell biology; iii) studies on control of NAT gene expression may help to understand the increase in the human NAT isoenzyme, NAT1, in breast cancer; iv) a NAT homologue in mycobacteria plays an essential role in cell-wall synthesis and mycobacterial survival inside host macrophage, thus identifying a novel biochemical pathway; v) transgenic mice, with genetic modifications of all Nat genes, provide in vivo tools for drug metabolism; and vi) structures of NAT isoenzymes provide essential in silico tools for drug discovery.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Arylamine N-Acetyltransferase / chemistry
  • Arylamine N-Acetyltransferase / genetics*
  • Arylamine N-Acetyltransferase / metabolism*
  • Catalysis
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Humans
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • Protein Structure, Secondary


  • Arylamine N-Acetyltransferase