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Comparative large-scale characterisation of plant vs. mammal proteins reveals similar and idiosyncratic N-alpha acetylation features.

Bienvenut W.V., Sumpton D., Martinez A., Lilla S., Espagne C., Meinnel T., Giglione C.

N-terminal modifications play a major role in the fate of proteins in terms of activity, stability, or subcellular compartmentalization. Such modifications remain poorly described and badly characterized in proteomic studies, and only a few comparison studies among organisms have been made available so far. Recent advances in the field now allow the enrichment and selection of N-terminal peptides in the course of proteome-wide mass spectrometry analyses. These targeted approaches unravel as a result the extent and nature of the protein N-terminal modifications. Here, we aimed at studying such modifications in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana to compare these results with those obtained from a human sample analyzed in parallel. We applied large scale analysis to compile robust conclusions on both data sets. Our data show strong convergence of the characterized modifications especially for protein N-terminal methionine excision, co-translational N-α-acetylation, or N-myristoylation between animal and plant kingdoms. Because of the convergence of both the substrates and the N-α-acetylation machinery, it was possible to identify the N-acetyltransferases involved in such modifications for a small number of model plants. Finally, a high proportion of nuclear-encoded chloroplast proteins feature post-translational N-α-acetylation of the mature protein after removal of the transit peptide. Unlike animals, plants feature in a dedicated pathway for post-translational acetylation of organelle-targeted proteins. The corresponding machinery is yet to be discovered.

Mol. Cell. Proteomics 11:M111.015131-M111.015131(2012) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]