Structures of N-terminally acetylated proteins

Eur J Biochem. 1985 Nov 4;152(3):523-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1432-1033.1985.tb09227.x.


Primary structures of 250 characterized proteins with N-terminally acetylated residues were correlated with residue distributions and other data. Excluding multiple forms derived from characterized species variants, the structures represent 105 different types of acetylated proteins. Results of comparisons extend previous suggestions based on fewer structures and define relationships further. The N-terminal residue that is acetylated is of a limited type and is frequently a small residue, with a heavy over-representation of serine and alanine. However, the occurrence of methionine at the acetylated position is also high, whereas that of glycine is less frequent than previously estimated. Lysine is over-represented in the N-terminal region, as is aspartic and glutamic acids at a few positions close to the acetylated N-terminus (especially the adjacent position). Finally, distributions of branched-chain residues in the N-terminal region of acetylated proteins are altered in relation to those of proteins in general, isoleucine is over-represented, and leucine and valine are under-represented. The results suggest that alpha-amino-acetylated proteins have special residues in N-terminally non-hydrophobic structures. Data are compatible with a protective function for acetylation but do not exclude further role(s) in processing or other special functions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetylation
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Cytosol / enzymology
  • Electrochemistry
  • Humans
  • Isoenzymes / metabolism
  • Mitochondria / enzymology
  • Proteins / analysis*
  • Proteins / metabolism
  • Species Specificity


  • Isoenzymes
  • Proteins