Photoactivatable Myristic Acid Probes for UNC119-Cargo Interactions

Chembiochem. 2019 Jan 18;20(2):134-139. doi: 10.1002/cbic.201800406. Epub 2018 Oct 17.


Protein myristoylation plays key roles in biological processes, for instance, in membrane attachment and activation of proteins and in mediating protein-protein and protein-lipid interactions. Furthermore, myristoylated proteins are involved in disorders, including cancer and viral infections. Therefore, new tools to study protein myristoylation are in high demand. Herein, we report the development of photoactivatable probes, based on a diazirine-substituted analogue of myristic acid. The probes bind to and, upon irradiation, covalently label the lipid-binding chaperone protein uncoordinated 119 (UNC119). UNC119 increases overall solubility and regulates specifically the transport of myristoylated proteins between intercellular membranes. The binding mode of the probes is similar to that of the myristate moiety, and the residues inside the hydrophobic pocket of UNC119 proteins that are critical for covalent binding have been identified. The interaction with UNC119 was also demonstrated in cell lysate by means of affinity enrichment. Moreover, it is shown that the myristate analogue can be incorporated into peptide substrates by N-myristoyl transferases of Leishmania and Trypanosoma protozoan parasites.

Keywords: chemical biology; myristoylation; photoactivatable probes; protein-protein interactions; transferases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acyltransferases / chemistry
  • Acyltransferases / metabolism
  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing / chemistry*
  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing / metabolism
  • Fluorescent Dyes / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Leishmania / enzymology
  • Myristic Acid / chemistry*
  • Photochemical Processes
  • Trypanosoma / enzymology


  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • UNC119 protein, human
  • Myristic Acid
  • Acyltransferases
  • glycylpeptide N-tetradecanoyltransferase