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J Cell Biol. 2006 Jul 31;174(3):369-77. Epub 2006 Jul 24.

Identification of Golgi-localized acyl transferases that palmitoylate and regulate endothelial nitric oxide synthase.

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Department of Pharmacology and Program in Vascular Cell Signaling and Therapeutics, Boyer Center for Molecular Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06536, USA.


Lipid modifications mediate the subcellular localization and biological activity of many proteins, including endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS). This enzyme resides on the cytoplasmic aspect of the Golgi apparatus and in caveolae and is dually acylated by both N-myristoylation and S-palmitoylation. Palmitoylation-deficient mutants of eNOS release less nitric oxide (NO). We identify enzymes that palmitoylate eNOS in vivo. Transfection of human embryonic kidney 293 cells with the complementary DNA (cDNA) for eNOS and 23 cDNA clones encoding the Asp-His-His-Cys motif (DHHC) palmitoyl transferase family members showed that five clones (2, 3, 7, 8, and 21) enhanced incorporation of [3H]-palmitate into eNOS. Human endothelial cells express all five of these enzymes, which colocalize with eNOS in the Golgi and plasma membrane and interact with eNOS. Importantly, inhibition of DHHC-21 palmitoyl transferase, but not DHHC-3, in human endothelial cells reduces eNOS palmitoylation, eNOS targeting, and stimulated NO production. Collectively, our data describe five new Golgi-targeted DHHC enzymes in human endothelial cells and suggest a regulatory role of DHHC-21 in governing eNOS localization and function.

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