A fluorescence-based high performance liquid chromatographic method for the characterization of palmitoyl acyl transferase activity

Amanda S. Varner, Mackenzie L. De Vos, Steffen P. Creaser, Blake R. Peterson, Charles D. Smith

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Although protein palmitoylation is essential for targeting many important signaling proteins to the plasma membrane, the mechanism by which palmitoylation occurs is uncharacterized, since the enzyme(s) responsible for this modification remain unidentified. To study palmitoyl acyl transferase (PAT) activity, we developed an in vitro palmitoylation (IVP) assay using a fluorescently labeled substrate peptide, mimicking the N-terminal palmitoylation motif of proteins such as non-receptor Src-related tyrosine kinases. The palmitoylated and non-palmitoylated forms of the peptide were resolved by reverse-phase HPLC and detected by fluorescence. The method was optimized for PAT activity using lysates from the MCF-7 and Hep-G2 human tumor cell lines. The PAT activity was inhibited by boiling, reducing the incubation temperature, or adding 10μM 2-bromopalmitate, a known palmitoylation inhibitor. This IVP assay provides the first method that is suitable to study all facets of the palmitoylation reaction, including peptide palmitoylation by PAT(s), depalmitoylation by thioesterases, and evaluation of potential palmitoylation inhibitors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)160-167
Number of pages8
JournalAnalytical Biochemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1 2002


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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