Pineal Serotonin N-Acetyltransferase: Expression Cloning and Molecular Analysis

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Science  08 Dec 1995:
Vol. 270, Issue 5242, pp. 1681-1683
DOI: 10.1126/science.270.5242.1681


Pineal serotonin N-acetyltransferase (arylalkylamine N-acetyltransferase, or AA-NAT) generates the large circadian rhythm in melatonin, the hormone that coordinates daily and seasonal physiology in some mammals. Complementary DNA encoding ovine AA-NAT was cloned. The abundance of AA-NAT messenger RNA (mRNA) during the day was high in the ovine pineal gland and somewhat lower in retina. AA-NAT mRNA was found unexpectedly in the pituitary gland and in some brain regions. The night-to-day ratio of ovine pineal AA-NAT mRNA is less than 2. In contrast, the ratio exceeds 150 in rats. AA-NAT represents a family within a large superfamily of acetyltransferases.

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