Recent proteomic studies reveal that 5-10% of mammalian and bacterial proteins undergo lysine acetylation, a post-translational modification that adds an acetyl group to the ɛ-amino group of lysine residues. Many of these proteins are not canonical targets, such as histones and transcription factors, suggesting that this modification plays a much wider role than previously appreciated. These studies also suggest that lysine acetylomes are at least comparable with (if not larger than) phosphoproteomes. Although many of the newly identified acetylation events still require validation, they constitute an important framework for further research and the development of new drugs useful in treating a variety of pathologies. Herein, we summarize these proteomic studies and highlight recent reports linking lysine acetylation to heterochromatin assembly, sister chromatid cohesion, cytoskeleton dynamics, autophagy, receptor signaling, RNA processing and metabolic control.
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