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

Arylamine N-acetyltransferases.

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University of Oxford, Department of Pharmacology, Mansfield Road, Oxford, UK.


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.

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