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New Phytol. 2015 Jan;205(2):476-89. doi: 10.1111/nph.13085. Epub 2014 Oct 6.

The importance of lipid modified proteins in plants.

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Division of Plant Sciences, University of Dundee, Dundee, UK; Cell and Molecular Sciences, The James Hutton Institute, Dundee, UK.


Membranes have long been known to act as more than physical barriers within and between plant cells. Trafficking of membrane proteins, signalling from and across membranes, organisation of membranes and transport through membranes are all essential processes for plant cellular function. These processes rely on a myriad array of proteins regulated in a variety of manners and are frequently required to be directly associated with membranes. For integral membrane proteins, the mode of membrane association is readily apparent, but many peripherally associated membrane proteins are outwardly soluble proteins. In these cases the proteins are frequently modified by the addition of lipids allowing direct interaction with the hydrophobic core of membranes. These modifications include N-myristoylation, S-acylation (palmitoylation), prenylation and GPI anchors but until recently little was truly known about their function in plants. New data suggest that these modifications are able to act as more than just membrane anchors, and dynamic S-acylation in particular is emerging as a means of regulating protein function in a similar manner to phosphorylation. This review discusses how these modifications occur, their impact on protein function, how they are regulated, recent advances in the field and technical approaches for studying these modifications.


N-myristoylation; S-acylation; farnesylation; geranylgeranylation; membranes; microdomains; palmitoylation; prenylation

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