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N-myristoylation, one of the co- or post-translational modifications of proteins, has so far been regarded as necessary for anchoring of proteins to membranes. Recently, we have revealed that N(alpha)-myristoylation of several brain proteins unambiguously regulates certain protein-protein interactions that may affect signaling pathways in brain. Comparison of the amino acid sequences of myristoylated proteins including those in other organs suggests that this regulation is involved in signaling pathways not only in brain but also in other organs. Thus, it has been shown that myristoylated proteins in cells regulate the signal transduction between membranes and cytoplasmic fractions. An algorithm we have developed to identify myristoylated proteins in cells predicts the presence of hundreds of myristoylated proteins. Interestingly, a large portion of the myristoylated proteins thought to take part in signal transduction between membranes and cytoplasmic fractions are included in the predicted myristoylated proteins. If the proteins functionally regulated by myristoylation, a posttranslational protein modification, were understood as cross-talk points within the intracellular signal transduction system, known signaling pathways could thus be linked to each other, and a novel map of this intracellular network could be constructed. On the basis of our recent results, this review will highlight the multifunctional aspects of protein N-myristoylation in brain.


Nobuhiro Hayashi, Koiti Titani. N-myristoylated proteins, key components in intracellular signal transduction systems enabling rapid and flexible cell responses. Proceedings of the Japan Academy. Series B, Physical and biological sciences. 2010;86(5):494-508

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PMID: 20467215

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