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Gene Review

NAT  -  N-acetyltransferase, liver isozyme

Gallus gallus

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Disease relevance of NAT

  • The alpha-adrenergic inhibition of cAMP accumulation and NAT activity was prevented by pertussis toxin [1].
  • Moreover, the existence of bidirectional communication between the pineal gland and the activated immune system was supported by the decreased activity of pineal NAT in chickens with peritonitis compared with control birds [2].
  • We previously showed that in Gallus domesticus chicks pretreated with LD12:12, NAT activity was increased by dark exposure (peak dark sensitivity occurred during the expected dark-time) or decreased by light at night (peak light sensitivity occurred early in the night during the time of dark sensitivity) [3].
  • Breast cancer, heterocyclic aromatic amines from meat and N-acetyltransferase 2 genotype [4].

High impact information on NAT


Biological context of NAT


Anatomical context of NAT

  • Consistent with the hypothesis that NAT is localized in photoreceptors, the effects of the stimulatory treatments were significantly greater in E6 and E8K cultures than in E8 cultures [10].
  • The activity of serotonin N-acetyltransferase (NAT), a key regulatory enzyme in the melatonin biosynthetic pathway, was examined in low-density monolayer cultures of chick embryo retinal cells prepared with three levels of photoreceptor enrichment [10].
  • Stimulation of NAT activity by phosphate occurs only in chick pineal and retina, not in chick cerebrum, cerebellum or liver, nor in rat pineal or other tissues tested [11].
  • Additionally, bromocriptine and quinpirole displaced the specific binding of [3H]rauwolscine, an alpha-2 adrenergic receptor antagonist, to membranes from chicken pineal gland, with potencies comparable to those observed for inhibition of NAT activity in vitro [12].
  • In chicks that have had their superior cervical ganglia removed inactivation of pineal NAT by light is intermediate between that of intact and blind chicks, indicating that ganglionectomy does not completely mimic the effects of blinding [13].

Associations of NAT with chemical compounds

  • Two methods were applied to confirm that the cDNA encoded arylamine N-acetyltransferase [7].
  • After a partially purified enzyme preparation was absorbed on the column, N-acetyltransferase activity was eluted with 1 M NaCl and 1 M urea [14].
  • Midnight illumination induced a dramatic decrease of NAT activity and melatonin release [15].
  • It is suggested that prolonged exposure to light or darkness, by altering the level of the retinal dopaminergic neurotransmission, may modify the reactivity of the D4-like dopamine receptors regulating NAT activity of the chick retina [16].
  • Systemic administration of clonidine acutely suppressed NAT activity of chick pineal gland, but did not affect the phase of subsequent cycles in constant darkness [17].

Other interactions of NAT

  • It is suggested that, although D4-like DA receptors in chick retina are involved in the regulation of NAT activity by the circadian clock, they do not appear to be implicated in the regulation of the clock by light [18].

Analytical, diagnostic and therapeutic context of NAT


  1. N-acetylation of serotonin is correlated with alpha 2- but not with beta-adrenergic regulation of cyclic AMP levels in cultured chick pineal cells. Voisin, P., Van Camp, G., Collin, J.P. J. Neurochem. (1990) [Pubmed]
  2. Seasonality of pineal gland activity and immune functions in chickens. Majewski, P., Adamska, I., Pawlak, J., Barańska, A., Skwarło-Sońta, K. J. Pineal Res. (2005) [Pubmed]
  3. Photoperiod modifies daily maps of light and dark sensitivity for N-acetyltransferase activity in pineal glands of 3-week old Gallus domesticus. Binkley, S., Mosher, K., White, B.H. J. Comp. Physiol. B, Biochem. Syst. Environ. Physiol. (1989) [Pubmed]
  4. Breast cancer, heterocyclic aromatic amines from meat and N-acetyltransferase 2 genotype. Delfino, R.J., Sinha, R., Smith, C., West, J., White, E., Lin, H.J., Liao, S.Y., Gim, J.S., Ma, H.L., Butler, J., Anton-Culver, H. Carcinogenesis (2000) [Pubmed]
  5. Diurnal cycles in serotonin acetyltransferase activity and cyclic GMP content of cultured chick pineal glands. Wainwright, S.D. Nature (1980) [Pubmed]
  6. A circadian oscillator in cultured cells of chicken pineal gland. Deguchi, T. Nature (1979) [Pubmed]
  7. Arylamine N-acetyltransferase from chicken liver II. Cloning of cDNA and expression in Chinese hamster ovary cells. Ohsako, S., Ohtomi, M., Sakamoto, Y., Uyemura, K., Deguchi, T. J. Biol. Chem. (1988) [Pubmed]
  8. Development of melatonin synthesis in chicken retina: regulation of serotonin N-acetyltransferase activity by light, circadian oscillators, and cyclic AMP. Iuvone, P.M. J. Neurochem. (1990) [Pubmed]
  9. Nomenclature for N-acetyltransferases. Vatsis, K.P., Weber, W.W., Bell, D.A., Dupret, J.M., Evans, D.A., Grant, D.M., Hein, D.W., Lin, H.J., Meyer, U.A., Relling, M.V. Pharmacogenetics (1995) [Pubmed]
  10. Cyclic AMP-dependent induction of serotonin N-acetyltransferase activity in photoreceptor-enriched chick retinal cell cultures: characterization and inhibition by dopamine. Iuvone, P.M., Avendano, G., Butler, B.J., Adler, R. J. Neurochem. (1990) [Pubmed]
  11. Pineal and retinal serotonin N-acetyltransferase activity: modulation by phosphate. Hamm, H.E., Menaker, M. J. Neurochem. (1981) [Pubmed]
  12. Alpha-2 adrenergic activity of bromocriptine and quinpirole in chicken pineal gland. Effects on melatonin synthesis and [3H]rauwolscine binding. Zawilska, J., Iuvone, P.M. J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther. (1990) [Pubmed]
  13. Light-induced decrease of serotonin N-acetyltransferase activity and melatonin in the chicken pineal gland and retina. Hamm, H.E., Takahashi, J.S., Menaker, M. Brain Res. (1983) [Pubmed]
  14. Arylamine N-acetyltransferase from chicken liver. I. Monoclonal antibodies, immunoaffinity purification, and amino acid sequences. Deguchi, T., Sakamoto, Y., Sasaki, Y., Uyemura, K. J. Biol. Chem. (1988) [Pubmed]
  15. Regulation of melatonin secretion in a photoreceptive pineal organ: an in vitro study in the pike. Falcón, J., Marmillon, J.B., Claustrat, B., Collin, J.P. J. Neurosci. (1989) [Pubmed]
  16. Prolonged exposure of chicks to light or darkness differentially affects the quinpirole-evoked suppression of serotonin N-acetyltransferase activity in chick retina: an impact on dopamine D4-like receptor. Zawilska, J.B., Derbiszewska, T., Nowak, J.Z. J. Pineal Res. (1997) [Pubmed]
  17. Clonidine in vivo mimics the acute suppressive but not the phase-shifting effects of light on circadian rhythm of serotonin N-acetyltransferase activity in chick pineal gland. Zawilska, J.B. J. Pineal Res. (1994) [Pubmed]
  18. Stimulation of D4-like dopamine receptor suppresses serotonin N-acetyltransferase activity but does not phase-shift the circadian oscillator in chick retina. Zawilska, J.B. Neurosci. Lett. (1994) [Pubmed]
  19. Arylalkylamine (serotonin) N-acetyltransferase assay using high-performance liquid chromatography with fluorescence or electrochemical detection of N-acetyltryptamine. Thomas, K.B., Zawilska, J., Iuvone, P.M. Anal. Biochem. (1990) [Pubmed]
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