Nutrient-dependent changes of protein palmitoylation: Impact on nuclear enzymes and regulation of gene expression

Matteo Spinelli, Salvatore Fusco, Claudio Grassi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Diet is the main environmental stimulus chronically impinging on the organism throughout the entire life. Nutrients impact cells via a plethora of mechanisms including the regulation of both protein post-translational modifications and gene expression. Palmitoylation is the most-studied protein lipidation, which consists of the attachment of a molecule of palmitic acid to residues of proteins. S-palmitoylation is a reversible cysteine modification finely regulated by palmitoyl-transferases and acyl-thioesterases that is involved in the regulation of protein trafficking and activity. Recently, several studies have demonstrated that diet-dependent molecules such as insulin and fatty acids may affect protein palmitoylation. Here, we examine the role of protein palmitoylation on the regulation of gene expression focusing on the impact of this modification on the activity of chromatin remodeler enzymes, transcription factors, and nuclear proteins. We also discuss how this physiological phenomenon may represent a pivotal mechanism underlying the impact of diet and nutrient-dependent signals on human diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3820
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2018


  • Chromatin remodelers
  • Epigenetics
  • Nutrient-dependent signals
  • Personalized medicine
  • Protein palmitoylation
  • Transcription factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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