Therapeutic targeting of protein S-acylation for the treatment of disease

Niall J. Fraser (Lead / Corresponding author), Jacqueline Howie, Krzysztof J. Wypijewski, William Fuller (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
123 Downloads (Pure)


The post-translational modification protein S-acylation (commonly known as palmitoylation) plays a critical role in regulating a wide range of biological processes including cell growth, cardiac contractility, synaptic plasticity, endocytosis, vesicle trafficking, membrane transport and biased-receptor signalling. As a consequence, zDHHC-protein acyl transferases (zDHHC-PATs), enzymes that catalyse the addition of fatty acid groups to specific cysteine residues on target proteins, and acyl proteins thioesterases, proteins that hydrolyse thioester linkages, are important pharmaceutical targets. At present, no therapeutic drugs have been developed that act by changing the palmitoylation status of specific target proteins. Here, we consider the role that palmitoylation plays in the development of diseases such as cancer and detail possible strategies for selectively manipulating the palmitoylation status of specific target proteins, a necessary first step towards developing clinically useful molecules for the treatment of disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-290
Number of pages10
JournalBiochemical Society Transactions
Issue number1
Early online date24 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020


  • drug discovery and design
  • palmitoylation
  • protein S-acylation
  • thioesterase
  • zDHHC protein acyltransferase
  • Acyltransferases/metabolism
  • Drug Discovery/methods
  • B7-H1 Antigen/metabolism
  • Humans
  • Cysteine/metabolism
  • Neoplasms/drug therapy
  • Animals
  • Lipoylation/drug effects
  • ras Proteins/metabolism
  • Mice
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational
  • Palmitoyl-CoA Hydrolase/metabolism
  • Receptor, Melanocortin, Type 1/metabolism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry


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