Chloramphenicol acetyltransferase or CAT reporter gene and protein. CAT is a bacterial gene that evolved to neutralize the antibiotic chloramphenicol. To neutralize it, CAT transfers acetyle groups to chloramphenicol and thus changes its shape into a harmless form. Molecular biologists use CAT as a reporter protein in eukaryotic cells.
Measurement of CAT in Extracts of Mammalian Cells Using Thin-layer Chromatography In this protocol, extracts prepared from cells transfected with a chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) reporter plasmid are incubated with radiolabeled chloramphenicol. The acetylated products generated by the action of CAT are separated from the unmodified drug by thin-layer chromatography and quantitated by scraping the spots from the thin-layer plates and counting them by scintillation spectroscopy.