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J Biol Chem. 1998 Oct 23;273(43):28478-85.

Association of GAP-43 with detergent-resistant membranes requires two palmitoylated cysteine residues.

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Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, State University of New York, Stony Brook, New York 11794-5215, USA.


GAP-43 is an abundant protein in axonal growth cones of developing and regenerating neurons. We found that GAP-43 was enriched in detergent-resistant membranes (DRMs) isolated by Triton X-100 extraction from PC12 pheochromocytoma cells and could be detected in detergent-insoluble plasma membrane remnants after extraction of cells in situ. GAP-43 is palmitoylated at Cys-3 and Cys-4. Mutation of either Cys residue prevented association with DRMs. A hybrid protein containing the first 20 amino acid residues of GAP-43 fused to beta-galactosidase was targeted to DRMs even more efficiently than GAP-43 itself. We conclude that tandem palmitoylated Cys residues can target GAP-43 to DRMs, defining a new signal for DRM targeting. We propose that tandem or closely spaced saturated fatty acyl chains partition into domains or "rafts" in the liquid-ordered phase, or a phase with similar properties, in cell membranes. These rafts are isolated as DRMs after detergent extraction. The brain-specific heterotrimeric G protein Go, which may be regulated by GAP-43 in vitro, was also enriched in DRMs from PC12 cells. Targeting of GAP-43 to rafts may function to facilitate signaling through Go. In addition, raft association may aid in sorting of GAP-43 into axonally directed vesicles in the trans-Golgi network.

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