The GCN5-related N-acetyltransferases family (GNAT) is an important family of proteins that includes more than 100000 members among eukaryotes and prokaryotes. Acetylation appears as a major regulatory post-translational modification and is as widespread as phosphorylation. N-Acetyltransferases transfer an acetyl group from acetyl-CoA to a large array of substrates, from small molecules such as aminoglycoside antibiotics to macromolecules. Acetylation of proteins can occur at two different positions, either at the amino-terminal end (αN-acetylation) or at the ε-amino group (εN-acetylation) of an internal lysine residue. GNAT members have been classified into different groups on the basis of their substrate specificity, and in spite of a very low primary sequence identity, GNAT proteins display a common and conserved fold. This Current Topic reviews the different classes of bacterial GNAT proteins, their functions, their structural characteristics, and their mechanism of action.
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