American Chemical Society
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Site-Specific Quantification of Protein Palmitoylation by Cysteine-Stable Isotope Metabolic Labeling

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journal contribution
posted on 2018-08-07, 00:00 authored by Xiaoqin Zhang, Lei Zhang, Guanghui Ji, Qunying Lei, Caiyun Fang, Haojie Lu
Palmitoylation is one of the most important protein translational modifications and plays vital roles in many key biological processes. Aberrant palmitoylation has been associated with a variety of human diseases. So it is of great significance to profile the palmitoylated proteomes qualitatively and quantitatively. Here, we described a novel method based on the cysteine-stable isotope labeling in cell culture (cysteine-SILAC) to facilitate the quantitation of palmitoylated proteins by mass spectrometry (MS), in which “light” or “heavy” samples could be pooled and subjected to the subsequent analysis procedures simultaneously, minimizing systematic errors caused by parallel operations and improving quantitative accuracy and precision. The mass tags lay on the cysteine residues, which were the potential palmitoylated sites, indicating that all the putative modified sites/peptides could be quantified, including the C-terminal peptide of one protein. Due to the isotopically labeled cysteine, the nonspecifically adsorbed peptide without cysteine was singlet in MS spectra, whereas pair peaks should be the signals of putative palmitoylated peptides, which could reduce spectral complexity and achieve double verification for the putative palmitoylated peptides. Finally, the palmitoylome in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells with different metastasis potentials (MHCC-97L and HCC-LM3 cells) were analyzed for the first time. Totally, 151 proteins were found to be differentially palmitoylated with high confidence, including many important proteins involved in a variety of biological processes, such as protein palmitoylation, cell proliferation, signal transduction, regulation of cell migration, and so on.