Protein palmitoylation is important in the process of neuronal growth during development and regeneration and in synaptic function and plasticity in the adult. This review will present recent findings dealing with protein palmitoylation in neurons. Among the topics discussed will be enzymes carrying out palmitoylation and depalmitoylation, including members of the DHHC family of protein acyl transferases, as well as the palmitoylation of various neuronal proteins including Ras proteins, paralemmin, heterotrimeric G proteins and G protein-coupled receptors, GAP-43, GAD65, p75NTR, scaffolding proteins, cell adhesion molecules, and neuronal guidance factors and their receptors. Recent characterization of the rat neural palmitoyl-proteome will also be presented, which has resulted in the identification of new palmitoylated proteins, including a brain-specific isoform of the small GTPase Cdc42, neurotransmitter receptors and transporters, and proteins involved in vesicular trafficking. The control of protein palmitoylation by neurotransmitters and pharmacological agents and the association of palmitoylated proteins with lipid rafts will also be discussed.
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