cDNA Sequence of a Clone Encoding Arylalkylamine N-acetyltransferase and Human Gene Encoding Serotonin N-acetyltransferase

The identification of an arylalkylamine N-acetyltransferase (AA-NAT) mRNA in the brain and the cloning of ovine and human cDNAs encoding for the pineal enzyme serotonin N-acetyltransferase. These findings open a new area of research -- the importance of AA-NAT in the regulation of brain serotonin and the development of drugs which raise serotonin levels by inhibiting this enzyme. This enzyme is the rate-controlling step in the conversion of serotonin to melatonin. The hormone melatonin has been linked to controlling circadian rhythms. Development of regulators of the synthesis of the hormone melatonin may be the preferred route to controlling seasonal reproduction cycles or sleep cycles of vertebrates. Activators of the serotonin N-acetyltransferase may be beneficial to induce or enhance the quality of sleep at night. Inhibitors of serotonin N-acetyltransferase may lead to drugs that stimulate the levels of alertness and physical activity or delay the onset of fatigue. Licenses for the cDNAs encoding for this enzyme or the production of the enzyme are available.


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Updated: Dec 1, 1995