Lipid anchored protein

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In lipid anchored proteins, a covalently attached fatty acid such as palmitate or myristate serves to anchor them to either face of the cell membrane. Examples include G proteins and certain kinases. It is believed that the fatty acid chain inserts and assumes a place in the bilayer structure of the membrane alongside the similar fatty-acid tails of the surrounding lipid molecules. Potential points of attachment include the terminal amino group of the protein backbone and the side chain of cysteine residues.

Prenylation is the attachment of lipid chains to proteins to facilitate their interaction with the cell membrane. Some important prenylation chains are geranylgeraniol, farnesol and dolichol, all products of the HMG-CoA reductase metabolic pathway.

Other anchors include the GPI anchor (see there).


Karp, Gerald. 4th ed. Danvers, MA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2005. 131-137.