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N-acetyltransferase (NAT) is an enzyme that catalyzes the transfer of acetyl groups from acetyl-CoA to arylamines.[1][2] They have wide specificity for aromatic amines, particularly serotonin, and can also catalyze acetyl transfer between arylamines without CoA. EC

Importance in humans[edit]

Acetyl groups are important in the conjugation of metabolites from the liver, to allow excretion of the byproducts (phase II metabolism). This is especially important in the metabolism and excretion of drug products.

50% of the British population are deficient in hepatic N-acetyltransferase. This is known as a negative acetylator status. Drugs affected by this are:

  • isoniazid
  • procainamide
  • hydralazine
  • dapsone
  • sulfasalazine


The following is a list of human genes that encode N-acetyltransferase enzymes:

Symbol Name
AANAT aralkylamine N-acetyltransferase
ARD1A ARD1 homolog A, N-acetyltransferase (S. cerevisiae)
GNPNAT1 glucosamine-phosphate N-acetyltransferase 1
HGSNAT heparan-alpha-glucosaminide N-acetyltransferase
MAK10 MAK10 homolog, amino-acid N-acetyltransferase subunit (S. cerevisiae)
NAT1 N-acetyltransferase 1 (arylamine N-acetyltransferase)
NAT2 N-acetyltransferase 2 (arylamine N-acetyltransferase)
NAT5 N-acetyltransferase 5 (GCN5-related, putative)
NAT6 N-acetyltransferase 6 (GCN5-related)
NAT8 N-acetyltransferase 8 (GCN5-related, putative)
NAT8L N-acetyltransferase 8-like (GCN5-related, putative)
NAT9 N-acetyltransferase 9 (GCN5-related, putative)
NAT10 N-acetyltransferase 10 (GCN5-related)
NAT11 N-acetyltransferase 11 (GCN5-related, putative)
NAT12 N-acetyltransferase 12 (GCN5-related, putative)
NAT13 N-acetyltransferase 13 (GCN5-related)
NAT14 N-acetyltransferase 14 (GCN5-related, putative)
NAT15 N-acetyltransferase 15 (GCN5-related, putative)


  1. ^ Evans DA (1989). "N-acetyltransferase". Pharmacology & Therapeutics. 42 (2): 157–234. doi:10.1016/0163-7258(89)90036-3. PMID 2664821.
  2. ^ Ma Y, Ghoshdastider U, Wang J, Ye W, Dötsch V, Filipek S, Bernhard F, Wang X (2012). "Cell-free expression of human glucosamine 6-phosphate N-acetyltransferase (HsGNA1) for inhibitor screening". Protein Expr. Purif. 86 (2): 120–6. doi:10.1016/j.pep.2012.09.011. PMID 23036358.