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Acetylation is a chemical reaction that is called ethanoylation in the IUPAC nomenclature. It describes a reaction that introduces an acetyl functional group into a chemical compound. The opposite chemical reaction is called deacetylation – it is the removal of the acetyl group.
The process of introducing an acetyl group results in an acetoxy group. It involves the substitution of an acetyl group for an active hydrogen atom. A reaction involving the replacement of the hydrogen atom of a hydroxyl group with an acetyl group (CH3 CO) would then yield a specific ester, the acetate.
Most of the proteins in the human body undergo acetylation. The process of acetylation is important for several important chemical reactions in the body. This includes:-
N-alpha-acetyltransferases help in mediating acetylation reactions. There are three common varieties of these enzymes. These are labeled A, B, and C and act within the cells to transfer molecules. They also control the proteins that build up the cellular structures.