Control of protein palmitoylation by regulating substrate recruitment to a zDHHC-protein acyltransferase

Fiona Plain, Jacqueline Howie, Jennifer Kennedy, Elaine Brown, Michael J. Shattock, Niall J. Fraser (Lead / Corresponding author), William Fuller (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)
125 Downloads (Pure)


Although palmitoylation regulates numerous cellular processes, as yet efforts to manipulate this post-translational modification for therapeutic gain have proved unsuccessful. The Na-pump accessory sub-unit phospholemman (PLM) is palmitoylated by zDHHC5. Here, we show that PLM palmitoylation is facilitated by recruitment of the Na-pump α sub-unit to a specific site on zDHHC5 that contains a juxtamembrane amphipathic helix. Site-specific palmitoylation and GlcNAcylation of this helix increased binding between the Na-pump and zDHHC5, promoting PLM palmitoylation. In contrast, disruption of the zDHHC5-Na-pump interaction with a cell penetrating peptide reduced PLM palmitoylation. Our results suggest that by manipulating the recruitment of specific substrates to particular zDHHC-palmitoyl acyl transferases, the palmitoylation status of individual proteins can be selectively altered, thus opening the door to the development of molecular modulators of protein palmitoylation for the treatment of disease.

Original languageEnglish
Article number411
Number of pages10
JournalCommunications Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2020


  • Cell signalling
  • Post-translational modifications

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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