Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Pharmacology and Toxicology

Committee Chair

Hein, David W.

Author's Keywords

Arylamine N-acetyltransferase; cancer; environmental carcinogens; cancer progression; carcinogen metabolism


Breast--Cancer--Genetic aspects; Carcinogens


Human arylamine N-acetyltransferase (NAT) is a phase II cytosolic enzyme that occurs as two isozymes, NAT1 and NAT2. This family of polymorphic enzymes catalyzes the detoxification and/or activation of many aromatic and heterocyclic amine drugs and carcinogens. These metabolism reactions can lead to detoxification of xenobiotics by N-acetylation, or bioactivation by O-acetylation which is preceded by cytochrome P450 (CYP) hydroxylation. This study evaluates the role of human arylamine N-acetyltransferase in carcinogen metabolism as it pertains to substrate selectivity, kinetic activity towards arylamine and alkylaniline substrates, and toxicological risk. Here we introduce the use of immortalized human fibroblasts (GM4429) to investigate the effects of combinations of human NAT1, human NAT2 haplotypes (NA T2*4, NA T2*S8, or NAT2*78), and varying CYP1 A2 enzymatic activity on carcinogen metabolism. We determined the apparent Michaelis-Menten constants of human NAT1 and human NAT2 for several well-characterized and putative environmental carcinogens. We utilized these data to investigate NAT substrate selectivity for these compounds of interest. NAT1 has been implicated in several cancers including urinary bladder, colorectal, lung, and breast cancer. Studies suggest that NAT1 plays an important role in cell growth and survival, as well as in cell proliferation and cell invasion, which are hallmarks of metastatic cancer. Here we describe the use of computational screening to identify effective, novel small molecule inhibitors of the molecular target NAT1. Our lead compound, Compound 10, suppressed carcinogen metabolism and 4-aminobiphenyl (ASP) -induced DNA adducts. The results in this study show that upon NAT1 inhibition there is a significant decrease in ASP activation, cell invasion, and cell proliferation in human breast adenocarcinoma cells. We also show that NAT1 inhibition in human breast cancer cells resulted in mitotic arrest, which supports findings suggesting that NAT1 plays an important role in human breast cancer progression. Our results indicate that human NAT1 is a molecular target for cancer therapy.