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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Quantitation of prenylcysteines by a selective cleavage reaction.

The allylic thioether bond of the prenylcysteines of prenylated proteins has been shown to be cleaved by 2-naphthol under alkaline conditions to yield substituted naphthopyrans. These products are readily resolved from interfering materials by HPLC and have a strongly absorbing chromophore. Thus, this reaction is suitable for quantitative analysis of prenyl substituents of proteins, and we have examined a number of tissues for their content of prenylcysteines. These amino acids are present in mammalian tissues at a concentration of 0.36-1.4 nmol/mg of protein, with a ratio of geranylgeranylcysteine to farnesylcysteine in the range of 4 to 10. Prenylcysteines were also found in the cytosolic fraction of two mouse tissues at about one-third the concentration of the whole organ. The level of these modified amino acids was found to be significantly less in a yeast, a fungus, a brown alga, a higher plant, and an insect. Again, geranylgeranylcysteine is predominant. Prenylcysteines were absent from Escherichia coli but present in an archaebacterium. The prenylcysteine content of mammalian tissue is about 1% of that of cholesterol and about equal to that of ubiquinones and dolichols. Calculations indicate that about 0.5% of all proteins are prenylated.[1]


  1. Quantitation of prenylcysteines by a selective cleavage reaction. Epstein, W.W., Lever, D., Leining, L.M., Bruenger, E., Rilling, H.C. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (1991) [Pubmed]
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