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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Immunochemical detection of arylamine N-acetyltransferase during mouse embryonic development and in adult mouse brain.

Arylamine N-acetyltransferases (NATs) are important in susceptibility to xenobiotic-induced disorders (e.g., drug-induced autoimmune disease, bladder cancer), but their role in endogenous metabolism is yet to be elucidated. The discovery that human NAT1 acts upon p-aminobenzoylgluatamate (p-ABG) to generate p-acetamidobenzoylglutamate (p-AABG), a major urinary metabolite of folic acid, suggests that human NAT1 may play a role in folic acid metabolism and hence in the normal development of the neural tube. In this study we examined the distribution of NAT in neuronal tissue from adult mice and embryos. Immunohistochemical staining of the adult mouse cerebellum revealed NAT2 (the mouse homologue of human NAT1) expression in the cell bodies and dendrites of Purkinje cells and in the neuroglia of the molecular layer. In embryos, NAT2 was detected in developing neuronal tissue on days 9.5, 11.5, and 13. 5. It was expressed intensely in the nerual tube around the time of closure. The level of expression subsequently declined in the neuroepithelium but increased in glial cells. In addition, NAT2 was detected in the developing heart and gut. These findings demonstrate that the embryo itself expresses an enzyme which is involved in the metabolism of folic acid, so that the role played by both mother and embryo must be considered when examining the role of folic acid in embryonic development. These findings imply that polymorphisms in NAT genes could play a role in determining susceptibility to neural tube defects (NTD) and orofacial clefting, developmental disorders which can be prevented by dietary administration of folic acid.[1]


  1. Immunochemical detection of arylamine N-acetyltransferase during mouse embryonic development and in adult mouse brain. Stanley, L.A., Copp, A.J., Pope, J., Rolls, S., Smelt, V., Perry, V.H., Sim, E. Teratology (1998) [Pubmed]
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