[Frontiers in Bioscience S3, 1067-1079, June 1, 2011]

Protein palmitoylation in protozoan parasites

Maria Martha Corvi1, Luc Gerard Berthiaume2, Maximiliano Gabriel De Napoli1

1Laboratorio de Parasitologia Molecular, Instituto Tecnologico de Chascomus (IIB-INTECH), CONICET-Universidad Nacional de General San Martin, Camino de Circunvalacion Laguna Km. 6 CC 164 (B7130IWA), Chascomus, Provincia de Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2Department of Cell Biology, School of Molecular and Systems Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2H7, Canada


1. Abstract
2. Introduction
3. Protein palmitoylation
3.1. General aspects
3.2. Functions
3.3. Depalmitoylation
3.4.Palmitoyl-acyl transferases
3.4.1. zDHHC-containing proteins
3.4.2. MBOAT proteins
4. Protein palmitoylation in Protozoan parasites
4.1. Protein palmitoylation, cell biology and invasion in Apicomplexan parasites
4.1.1. Eimeria spp.
4.1.2. Plasmodium spp.
4.1.3. Theileria spp.
4.1.4. Toxoplasma spp.
4.2. Giardia lamblia
4.3. Trypanosomatides
5. Concluding remarks
6. Acknowledgments
7. References


Palmitoylation plays an important role in the regulation of the localization and function of the modified protein. Although many aspects of protein palmitoylation have been identified in mammalian and yeast cells, little information is available of this modification in protozoan parasites. Protein palmitoylation has been described for a few set of proteins in E.tenella, P. falciparum, T. gondii, G. lamblia and T. cruzi. Interestingly, in all these parasites palmitoylated proteins appears to be involved in vital processes such as invasion and motility. In addition, most of these parasites contain in their genomes genes that encode for putative palmitoyl-acyl transferases, the enzymes catalyzing the palmitoylation reaction. Although protein palmitoylation could be playing key roles in invasion and motility in a variety of parasites, little is known about this important reversible modification of proteins that typically plays a role in membrane tethering. As such, this review will focus on the main features of protein palmitoylation as well as provide an overview of the state of knowledge of this modification in protozoan parasites.