Protein post-translational modifications (PTM) are commonly used to regulate biological processes. Protein S-acylation is an enzymatically regulated reversible modification that has been shown to modulate protein localization, activity and membrane binding. Proteome-scale discovery on Plasmodium falciparum schizonts has revealed a complement of more than 400 palmitoylated proteins, including those essential for host invasion and drug resistance. The wide regulatory affect on this species is endorsed by the presence of 12 proteins containing the conserved DHHC–CRD (DHHC motif within a cysteine-rich domain) that is associated with palmitoyl-transferase activity. Genetic interrogation of these enzymes in Apicomplexa has revealed essentiality and distinct localization at cellular compartments; these features are species specific and are not observed in yeast. It is clear that palmitoylation has an elaborate role in Plasmodium biology and opens intriguing questions on the functional consequence of this group of acylation modifications and how the protein S-acyl transferases (PATs) orchestrate molecular events.

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