Intracellular transport
Intracellular transport

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Intracellular transport

4.4 Lipidation

Lipid modification occurs in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes, including viruses. Lipidated proteins have an increased affinity for membranes, and the preferential partition of lipid-anchored proteins provides a number of physiological benefits, such as spatial specificity, increased local concentration and faster protein–protein interactions. A number of C-terminal motifs are sites for lipidation, including-CaaX, -CC and –CXC, where X is any amino acid and a is an aliphatic residue.

Prenylation and acylation affect the ability of the protein to interact with membranes (Table 6), which in turn alters their ability to interact with substrates and can also affect sorting to different compartments. For example, segregation to the apical and basolateral membranes appears to involve partitioning of newly synthesised proteins into glycosphingolipid-enriched domains.

Table 6 Lipid modification of proteins and their membrane affinity.

ModificationAdditionSubstratesMembrane affinity, KD
farnesylationpost-translationcytosolic proteins100 μmol l−1
geranylgeranylationpost-translationcytosolic proteins2 μmol l−1
N-myristoylationco-translationnascentpolypeptide80 μmol l−1
palmitoylationpost-translationmembrane protein5 μmol l−1

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371