Much effort has been expended on the in vitro characterization of enzymes that covalently attach lipids to proteins. Less information is available about properties conferred on modified proteins by their attached lipid groups, but biophysical studies of simple model systems have begun to shed light on this issue. Recent evidence suggests that the specificity of lipid modifications may be dependent upon the intracellular compartmentalization of the lipid and protein substrates of lipidating enzymes. The function and targeting of their lipidated products appear to be regulated dynamically through addition or subtraction of lipid moieties, other covalent or noncovalent modifications, as well as several devices that at this point can only be inferred. This field of research illustrates the necessity of integrating cell-biological and biophysical perspectives.
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