Fatty acid acylation of proteins: Specific roles for palmitic, myristic and caprylic acids

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Fatty acid acylation of proteins corresponds to the co-or post-translational covalent linkage of an acyl-CoA, derived from a fatty acid, to an amino-acid residue of the substrate protein. The cellular fatty acids which are involved in protein acylation are mainly saturated fatty acids. Palmitoylation (S-acylation) corresponds to the reversible attachment of palmitic acid (C16:0) via a thioester bond to the side chain of a cysteine residue. N-terminal myristoylation refers to the covalent attachment of myristic acid (C14:0) by an amide bond to the N-terminal glycine of many eukaryotic and viral proteins. Octanoylation (O-acylation) typically concerns the formation of an ester bond between octanoic acid (caprylic acid, C8:0) and the side chain of a serine residue of the stomach peptide ghrelin. An increasing number of proteins (enzymes, hormones, receptors, oncogenes, tumor suppressors, proteins involved in signal transduction, eukaryotic and viral structural proteins) have been shown to undergo fatty acid acylation. The addition of the acyl moiety is required for the protein function and usually mediates protein subcellular localization, protein-protein interaction or protein-membrane interaction. Therefore, through the covalent modification of proteins, these saturated fatty acids exhibit emerging specific and important roles in modulating protein functions. This review provides an overview of the recent findings on the various classes of protein acylation leading to the biological ability of saturated fatty acids to regulate many pathways. Finally, the nutritional links between these elucidated biochemical mechanisms and the physiological roles of dietary saturated fatty acids are discussed.




Rioux, V. (2016). Fatty acid acylation of proteins: Specific roles for palmitic, myristic and caprylic acids. OCL - Oilseeds and Fats, Crops and Lipids, 23(3). https://doi.org/10.1051/ocl/2015070

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