Acetylation is a chemical process in which an acetyl group, composed of two carbon atoms, three hydrogen atoms, and one oxygen atom, is added to a molecule. This process involves attaching the acetyl group to a specific site on the molecule, typically through a reaction with an acetylating agent.
Acetylation can have various effects on the molecule and can influence its function, stability, and interactions with other molecules in the body. It can alter the properties of proteins, enzymes, and other biomolecules by modifying their structure. The addition of an acetyl group can change the charge, shape, or chemical reactivity of the molecule, which can have significant implications for its role in cellular processes.
In biological systems, acetylation is a common post-translational modification, meaning it occurs after a protein is synthesized. It can affect protein function by regulating protein-protein interactions, protein stability, gene expression, and enzymatic activity. Acetylation plays a crucial role in various cellular processes, including gene regulation, metabolism, and signal transduction.