N-terminal acetylation (Nt-acetylation) is a highly abundant protein modification in eukaryotes and impacts a wide range of cellular processes, including protein quality control and stress tolerance. Despite its prevalence, the mechanisms regulating Nt-acetylation are still nebulous. Here, we present the first global study of Nt-acetylation in yeast cells as they progress to stationary phase in response to nutrient starvation. Surprisingly, we found that yeast cells maintain their global Nt-acetylation levels upon nutrient depletion, despite a marked decrease in acetyl-CoA levels. We further observed two distinct sets of protein N termini that display differential and opposing Nt-acetylation behavior upon nutrient starvation, indicating a dynamic process. The first protein cluster was enriched for annotated N termini showing increased Nt-acetylation in stationary phase compared with exponential growth phase. The second protein cluster was conversely enriched for alternative nonannotated N termini (i.e. N termini indicative of shorter N-terminal proteo-forms) and, like histones, showed reduced acetylation levels in stationary phase when acetyl-CoA levels were low. Notably, the degree of Nt-acetylation of Pcl8, a negative regulator of glycogen biosynthesis and two components of the pre-ribosome complex (Rsa3 and Rpl7a) increased during starvation. Moreover, the steady-state levels of these proteins were regulated both by starvation and NatA activity. In summary, this study represents the first comprehensive analysis of metabolic regulation of Nt-acetylation and reveals that specific, rather than global, Nt-acetylation events are subject to metabolic regulation.
Varland, S., Aksnes, H., Kryuchkov, F., Impens, F., Van Haver, D., Jonckheere, V., … Arnesen, T. (2018). N-terminal acetylation levels are maintained during acetyl-CoA deficiency in saccharomyces cerevisiae. Molecular and Cellular Proteomics, 17(12), 2309–2323. https://doi.org/10.1074/mcp.RA118.000982