Global, site-specific analysis of neuronal protein S-acylation

Sci Rep. 2017 Jul 5;7(1):4683. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-04580-1.


Protein S-acylation (palmitoylation) is a reversible lipid modification that is an important regulator of dynamic membrane-protein interactions. Proteomic approaches have uncovered many putative palmitoylated proteins however, methods for comprehensive palmitoylation site characterization are lacking. We demonstrate a quantitative site-specific-Acyl-Biotin-Exchange (ssABE) method that allowed the identification of 906 putative palmitoylation sites on 641 proteins from mouse forebrain. 62% of sites map to known palmitoylated proteins and 102 individual palmitoylation sites are known from the literature. 54% of palmitoylation sites map to synaptic proteins including many GPCRs, receptors/ion channels and peripheral membrane proteins. Phosphorylation sites were also identified on a subset of peptides that were palmitoylated, demonstrating for the first time co-identification of these modifications by mass spectrometry. Palmitoylation sites were identified on over half of the family of palmitoyl-acyltransferases (PATs) that mediate protein palmitoylation, including active site thioester-linked palmitoyl intermediates. Distinct palmitoylation motifs and site topology were identified for integral membrane and soluble proteins, indicating potential differences in associated PAT specificity and palmitoylation function. ssABE allows the global identification of palmitoylation sites as well as measurement of the active site modification state of PATs, enabling palmitoylation to be studied at a systems level.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acylation
  • Animals
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Mice
  • Phosphorylation
  • Prosencephalon / metabolism*
  • Proteins / chemistry*
  • Proteomics / methods*


  • Proteins