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Mol Pharmacol. 2004 Jan;65(1):220-6.

Human acetyl CoA:arylamine N-acetyltransferase variants generated by random mutagenesis.

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Guelph-Waterloo Centre for Graduate Work in Chemistry and Biochemsitry, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada.


Acetyl CoA:arylamine N-acetyltransferase (NAT) enzymes catalyze the N-acetylation of aromatic amines and the O-acetylation of aryl hydroxylamines, reactions that govern the disposition and toxicity of many drugs and carcinogens. The human NAT genes and enzymes NAT1 and NAT2 are highly polymorphic and constitute one of the best studied examples of the genetic control of drug metabolism. Naturally occurring human NAT variants provide limited insight into the relationship between NAT amino acid sequence and enzyme activity. We have shown previously that the expression of recombinant NAT2 in bacterial tester strains results in greatly enhanced sensitivity to mutagenic nitroaromatic compounds (which are reduced to aryl hydroxylamines by bacterial enzymes). We hypothesized that random mutagenesis combined with rapid screening could be used to identify functionally significant amino acid residues in NAT enzymes. Pools of NAT2 variants were generated by polymerase chain reaction-mediated random mutagenesis of the complete coding sequence. Reversion induced by a NAT-dependent mutagen, 3-methyl-2-nitroimidazo[4,5-f]quinoline, was used as the basis for screening these pools to identify variants with altered enzyme activity. Eighteen variants were characterized by quantitative mutagenicity assays and enzyme kinetic measurements. This approach can provide new insight into the biochemistry of enzymes involved in the metabolic activation of mutagens.

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