N-acetyltransferase 1 (NAT1) metabolizes drugs and environmental carcinogens. NAT1 alleles *10 and *11 have been proposed to alter protein level or enzyme activity compared with wild-type NAT1 *4 and to confer cancer risk, through uncertain pathways. This study characterizes regulatory polymorphisms and underlying mechanisms of NAT1 expression.
We measured allelic NAT1 mRNA expression and translation, as a function of multiple transcription start sites, alternative splicing, and three 3′-polyadenylation sites in human livers (one of which was discovered in this study), B lymphocytes, and transfected cells. In a clinical study of 469 patients with HIV/AIDS treated with the NAT1/NAT2 substrate sulfamethoxazole (SMX), associations were tested between SMX-induced hypersensitivity and NAT1 *10 and *11 genotypes, together with known NAT2 polymorphisms.
NAT1 *10 and *11 were determined to act as common regulatory alleles accounting for most NAT1 expression variability, both leading to increased translation into active protein. NAT1 *11 (2.4% minor allele frequency) affected 3′-polyadenylation site usage, thereby increasing formation of NAT1 mRNA with intermediate length 3′-untranslated region (major isoform) at the expense of the short isoform, resulting in more efficient protein translation. NAT1 *10 (19% minor allele frequency) increased translation efficiency without affecting 3′-untranslated region polyadenylation site usage. Livers and B-lymphocytes with *11/*4 and *10/*10 genotypes displayed higher NAT1 immunoreactivity and NAT1 enzyme activity than the reference genotype *4/*4. Patients who carry *10/*10 and *11/*4 (fast NAT1 acetylators) were less likely to develop hypersensitivity to SMX, but this was observed only in individuals who are also carrying a slow NAT2 acetylator genotype.
NAT1 *10 and *11 significantly increase NAT1 protein level/enzyme activity, enabling the classification of carriers into reference and rapid acetylators. Rapid NAT1 acetylator status seems to protect against SMX toxicity by compensating for slow NAT2 acetylator status.
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aDepartment of Pharmacology, Program in Pharmacogenomics, School of Biomedical Science
bInternal Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, College of Medicine, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA
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Correspondence to Dr Danxin Wang, PhD, Department of Pharmacology, Program in Pharmacogenomics, School of Biomedical Science, College of Medicine, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA Tel: +1 614 292 7336; fax: +1 614 292 7232; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Received January 7, 2011
Accepted June 4, 2011