Palmitoylation of membrane proteins inSpiroplasma floricola
In membranes of the cell-wall-less prokaryote Acholeplasma laidlawii most proteins are of the integral type. A substantial fraction of these proteins are enriched in hydrophilic amino acid residues. Approximately 20 different major as well as minor proteins were found to be covalently modified with acyl chains. The same set of proteins are acylated when cells are grown in different fatty-acid-supplemented media. In individual proteins the ratio of palmitoyl/oleoyl acyl chains was 12-14 times larger than the acyl chain ratio in polar membrane lipids. The transmembrane protein D12 has close to two acyl chains per molecule. Proteins T2 and T4a, localized in the outer and inner leaflet of the membrane, respectively, occur each as pairs with a difference in relative molecular mass within each pair of approximately 2000. Each of these proteins as well as the other acyl proteins, except the light form of T4a, has close to one acyl chain per molecule. The extent of acylation was increased for certain proteins and decreased for others by treatment with globomycin or phenethylalcohol. The relative amounts of the T2 and T4a pairs were affected by these drugs. It is concluded that the mechanism of acylation is different from that in Escherichia coli lipoprotein and Bacillus penicillinase. The mean hydrophobicity [Kyte & Doolittle (1982) J. Mol. Biol. 157, 105-132] of the A. laidlawii acyl proteins are similar to those of other bacterial acyl proteins but significantly lower than for non-acylated integral membrane proteins, supporting an anchoring function of the acyl chains. The number of membrane acyl proteins in A. laidlawii and two other mycoplasmas are at least twice that in other bacteria.