N-terminal acetylation and other functions of Nα-acetyltransferases

Biol Chem. 2012 Apr;393(4):291-8. doi: 10.1515/hsz-2011-0228.


Protein N-terminal acetylation by Nα-acetyltransferases (NATs) is an omnipresent protein modification that affects a large number of proteins. The exact biological role of N-terminal acetylation has, however, remained enigmatic for the overall majority of affected proteins, and only for a rather small number of proteins, N-terminal acetylation was linked to various protein features including stability, localization, and interactions. This minireview tries to summarize the recent progress made in understanding the functionality of N-terminal protein acetylation and also focuses on noncanonical functions of the NATs subunits.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acetylation
  • Acetyltransferases / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational
  • Proteins / metabolism


  • Proteins
  • Acetyltransferases