Maleimide scavenging enhances determination of protein S-palmitoylation state in acyl-exchange methods.

Charlotte H. Hurst, Dionne Turnbull, Fiona Plain, William Fuller, Piers A. Hemsley (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
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S-palmitoylation (S-acylation) is an emerging dynamic post-translational modification of cysteine residues within proteins.Current assays for protein S-palmitoylation involve either in vivo labelling or chemical cleavage of S-palmitoyl groupsto reveal a free cysteine sulfhydryl that can be subsequently labelled with an affinity handle (acyl-exchange). Assays for protein S-palmitoylation using acylexchange chemistry therefore require blocking of non-S-palmitoylated cysteines, typically using Nethylmaleimide, to prevent non-specific detection. This in turn necessitates multiple precipitation based clean-up steps to remove reagents between stages, often leading to variable sample loss, reduced signal or protein aggregation. These combine to reduce the sensitivity, reliability and accuracy of these assays and also requires a substantial amount of time to perform. By substituting these precipitation steps with chemical scavenging of N-ethylmaleimide by 2,3-dimethyl-1,3-butadiene in an aqueous Diels-Alder 4+2 cyclo-addition reaction it is possible to greatly improve sensitivity and accuracy while reducing hands-on and overall time required for assays.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-75
Number of pages7
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017


  • S-acylation
  • Palmitoylation
  • S-palmitoylation
  • Acyl biotin exchange
  • Acyl-RAC
  • Biotin switch
  • Maleimide
  • N-ethylmaleimide
  • Cysteine
  • Thiol
  • ABE
  • Diels-Alder


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