NMNAT: It's an NAD+ synthase… It's a chaperone… It's a neuroprotector

Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2017 Jun;44:156-162. doi: 10.1016/j.gde.2017.03.014. Epub 2017 Apr 23.


Nicotinamide mononucleotide adenylyl transferases (NMNATs) are a family of highly conserved proteins indispensable for cellular homeostasis. NMNATs are classically known for their enzymatic function of catalyzing NAD+ synthesis, but also have gained a reputation as essential neuronal maintenance factors. NMNAT deficiency has been associated with various human diseases with pronounced consequences on neural tissues, underscoring the importance of the neuronal maintenance and protective roles of these proteins. New mechanistic studies have challenged the role of NMNAT-catalyzed NAD+ production in delaying Wallerian degeneration and have specified new mechanisms of NMNAT's chaperone function critical for neuronal health. Progress in understanding the regulation of NMNAT has uncovered a neuronal stress response with great therapeutic promise for treating various neurodegenerative conditions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amide Synthases / genetics
  • Humans
  • Molecular Chaperones / genetics*
  • NAD / biosynthesis
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / enzymology
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / genetics*
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / pathology
  • Neurons / enzymology*
  • Neurons / pathology
  • Nicotinamide-Nucleotide Adenylyltransferase / genetics*


  • Molecular Chaperones
  • NAD
  • Nicotinamide-Nucleotide Adenylyltransferase
  • Amide Synthases
  • NAD+ synthase