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FEBS J. 2017 Jul;284(13):1936-1951. doi: 10.1111/febs.14014. Epub 2017 Feb 11.

From phosphoproteins to phosphoproteomes: a historical account.

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Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Padova, Italy.
CNR Neuroscience Institute, Padova, Italy.


The first phosphoprotein (casein) was discovered in 1883, yet the enzyme responsible for its phosphorylation was identified only 130 years later, in 2012. In the intervening time, especially in the last decades of the 1900s, it became evident that, far from being an oddity, phosphorylation affects the majority of eukaryotic proteins during their lifespan, and that this reaction is catalysed by the members of a large family of protein kinases, susceptible to a variety of stimuli controlling nearly every aspect of life and death. The aim of this review is to present a historical account of the main steps of this spectacular revolution, which transformed our conception of a biochemical reaction originally held as a sporadic curiosity into the master mechanism governing cell regulation, and, if it is perturbed, causing cell dysregulation.


phosphoprotein; phosphoproteomics; phosphorylation; post-translational modification; protein kinase

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