Lipid Anchors to Proteins

  • N. N. Nalivaeva
  • A. J. Turner
Reference work entry


A variety of lipid anchor mechanisms are used to target and stabilise the membrane association of proteins, many of which play important roles in synaptic development, function and plasticity. These lipid anchors include long-chain acyl or prenyl groups, glycosyl-phosphatidylinositol (GPI) and cholesterol. The lipid association with proteins can be either reversible or irreversible and an individual protein may have more than one lipid anchor attached. This chapter summarises some of the main mechanisms of lipid protein anchoring, including myristoylation, palmitoylation, isoprenylation and GPI addition and the enzymes involved in the covalent addition of lipid moieties to proteins. Lipid anchoring can influence protein targeting, especially to membrane lipid rafts, which can have pathological consequences, e.g. in Alzheimer’s disease. Specific examples of lipid-anchored proteins of neurochemical significance will be described in detail, including the prion protein, neural cell adhesion molecules and acetylcholinesterase.


Lipid Raft Prion Protein Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis Farnesyl Pyrophosphate Lipid Modification 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

List of Abbreviations:




A disintegrin and metalloproteinase




amyloid precursor protein


β-site APP cleaving enzyme (β-secretase)


epidermal growth factor receptor


Growth Associated Protein 43 (neuromodulin)






myristoylated alanine-rich C-kinase substrate


membrane bound O-acyltransferase


neural cell adhesion molecule


phosphatidylinositol specific phospholipase C


phospholipase A2


palmitoyl-protein thioesterase


proline-rich membrane anchor


prion protein


post-synaptic density


rab escort protein


rab geranylgeranyl transferase


sonic hedgehog


synaptosome-associated protein


soluble NSF Attachment protein receptors



We thank the UK Medical Research Council, Yorkshire Cancer Research, the Wellcome Trust, the Royal Society and the E.U. INTAS scheme for support of our research.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. N. Nalivaeva
  • A. J. Turner

There are no affiliations available

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