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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2001 Jul 3;98(14):8083-8. Epub 2001 Jun 26.

Role of a pineal cAMP-operated arylalkylamine N-acetyltransferase/14-3-3-binding switch in melatonin synthesis.

Author information

  • 1Section on Neuroendocrinology, Laboratory of Developmental Neurobiology, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892-4480, USA.

Erratum in

  • Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2001 Nov 20;98(24):14186.


The daily rhythm in melatonin levels is controlled by cAMP through actions on the penultimate enzyme in melatonin synthesis, arylalkylamine N-acetyltransferase (AANAT; serotonin N-acetyltransferase, EC ). Results presented here describe a regulatory/binding sequence in AANAT that encodes a cAMP-operated binding switch through which cAMP-regulated protein kinase-catalyzed phosphorylation [RRHTLPAN --> RRHpTLPAN] promotes formation of a complex with 14-3-3 proteins. Formation of this AANAT/14-3-3 complex enhances melatonin production by shielding AANAT from dephosphorylation and/or proteolysis and by decreasing the K(m) for 5-hydroxytryptamine (serotonin). Similar switches could play a role in cAMP signal transduction in other biological systems.

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