The N-acetylation polymorphism segregates individuals into rapid, intermediate, and slow acetylator phenotypes via monogenic inheritance at the NAT2 locus. In a previous study (Arch. Toxicol. 67, 445-452, 1993), we uncovered discrepancies between apparent NAT2 acetylator genotype based on polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis, in vitro colon arylamine N-acetyltransferase activity, and expected frequency of slow acetylator phenotype in African-Americans, which suggested the presence of not yet defined mutant NAT2 alleles. Two novel NAT2 alleles were discovered after cloning and sequencing of NAT2 polymerase chain reaction products. One allele (NAT2(191)) contained a point mutation at nucleotide 191 [G-->A (Arg-->Gln)], whereas the other allele (NAT2(341/803)) contained two point mutations [341T-->C (Ile-->Thr); 803A-->G (Lys-->Arg)]. The two mutant NAT2 and the NAT2wt alleles were expressed in a prokaryotic expression system. Both the NAT2(191) and NAT2(341/803) mutant alleles expressed functional N-acetyltransferases capable of catalyzing both arylamine N-acetylation and the metabolic activation (via O-acetylation) of N-hydroxy-2-aminofluorene. However, the NAT2(191) and NAT2(341/803) each exhibited significantly lower N- and O-acetylation capacity and were intrinsically less stable than NAT2wt.