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Protein lipidation is one of the most common forms of posttranslational modification. This alteration couples different lipids, such as fatty acids, phospho- and glycolipids and sterols, to cellular proteins. Lipidation regulates different aspects of the protein’s physiology, including structure, stability and affinity for cellular membranes and protein–protein interactions. In this scenario, palmitoylation is the addition of long saturated fatty acid chains to amino acid residues of the proteins. The enzymes responsible for this modification are acyltransferases and thioesterases, which control the protein’s behavior by performing a series of acylation and deacylation cycles. These enzymes target a broad repertoire of substrates, including ion channels. Thus, protein palmitoylation exhibits a pleiotropic role by differential modulation of the trafficking, spatial organization and electrophysiological properties of ion channels. Considering voltage-gated ion channels (VGICs), dysregulation of lipidation of both the channels and the associated ancillary subunits correlates with the development of various diseases, such as cancer or mental disorders. Therefore, a major role for protein palmitoylation is currently emerging, affecting not only the dynamism and differential regulation of a moiety of cellular proteins but also linking to human health. Therefore, palmitoylation of VGIC, as well as related enzymes, constitutes a novel pharmacological tool for drug development to target related pathologies.

Original publication




Journal article


International Journal of Molecular Sciences



Publication Date





9357 - 9357