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Biochem J. 1994 Nov 1;303 ( Pt 3):697-700.

N-terminal fatty acylation of the alpha-subunit of the G-protein Gi1: only the myristoylated protein is a substrate for palmitoylation.

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Dipartimento di Farmacologia, Università di Milano, Italy.


The alpha-subunit of the G-protein Gi1 carries two fatty acyl moieties covalently bound to its N-terminal region: myristic acid is linked to glycine-2 and palmitic acid is linked to cysteine-3. Using site-directed mutagenesis on a cDNA construct of alpha i1 we have generated an alpha i1-G2A mutant, carrying alanine instead of glycine at position 2, and alpha i1-C3S mutant, in which serine replaced cysteine-3 and a double mutant with both substitutions (alpha i1-G2A/C3S). These constructs were individually expressed by transfection in Cos-7 cells, and incorporation of fatty acids into the various mutants was compared with wild-type alpha i1 monitoring metabolic labelling with [3H]palmitate or [3H]myristate. The disruption of the palmitoylation site in alpha i1-C3S did not influence myristoylation, whereas prevention of myristoylation in alpha i1-G2A also abolished palmitoylation. Co-translational myristoylation is thus an absolute requirement for alpha i1 to be post-translationally palmitoylated. The non-palmitoylated alpha i1-C3S showed reduced membrane binding to the same extent as the non-myristoylated/non-palmitoylated alpha i1-G2A and alpha i1-G2A/C3S mutants, indicating that the attachment of palmitic acid is necessary for proper interaction with the membrane.

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