Protein S-acylation is a reversible lipidic posttranslational modification where a fatty acid chain is covalently linked to cysteine residues by a thioester linkage. A family of integral membrane enzymes known as DHHC protein acyltransferases (DHHC-PATs) catalyze this reaction. With the rapid development of the techniques used for identifying lipidated proteins, the repertoire of S-acylated proteins continues to increase. This, in turn, highlights the important roles that S-acylation plays in human physiology and disease. Recently, the first molecular structures of DHHC-PATs were determined using X-ray crystallography. This review will comment on the insights gained on the molecular mechanism of S-acylation from these structures in combination with a wealth of biochemical data generated by researchers in the field.

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