Profiling targets of the irreversible palmitoylation inhibitor 2-bromopalmitate

ACS Chem Biol. 2013 Sep 20;8(9):1912-7. doi: 10.1021/cb400380s. Epub 2013 Jul 25.


2-Bromohexadecanoic acid, or 2-bromopalmitate, was introduced nearly 50 years ago as a nonselective inhibitor of lipid metabolism. More recently, 2-bromopalmitate re-emerged as a general inhibitor of protein S-palmitoylation. Here, we investigate the cellular targets of 2-bromopalmitate through the synthesis and application of click-enabled analogues. In cells, 2-bromopalmitate is converted to 2-bromopalmitoyl-CoA, although less efficiently than free palmitate. Once conjugated to CoA, probe reactivity is dramatically enhanced. Importantly, both 2-bromopalmitate and 2-bromopalmitoyl-CoA label DHHC palmitoyl acyl transferases (PATs), the enzymes that catalyze protein S-palmitoylation. Mass spectrometry analysis of enriched 2-bromopalmitate targets identified PAT enzymes, transporters, and many palmitoylated proteins, with no observed preference for CoA-dependent enzymes. These data question whether 2-bromopalmitate (or 2-bromopalmitoyl-CoA) blocks S-palmitoylation by inhibiting protein acyl transferases, or by blocking palmitate incorporation by direct covalent competition. Overall, these findings highlight the promiscuous reactivity of 2BP and validate clickable 2BP analogues as activity-based probes of diverse membrane associated enzymes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acyltransferases / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Humans
  • Lipoylation / drug effects*
  • Palmitates / chemistry*
  • Palmitates / pharmacology*
  • Proteins / metabolism*


  • Palmitates
  • Proteins
  • 2-bromopalmitate
  • Acyltransferases