myristic acidmedical dictionary

<biochemistry> The myristoyl group is one of the less common fatty acyl residues of phospholipids in biological membranes but is found as an N terminal modification of a large number of membrane associated proteins and some cytoplasmic proteins.

It is a common modification of viral proteins. In all known examples, the myristoyl residue is attached to the amino group of N terminal glycine. The specificity of the myristoyl transferase enzymes is extremely high with respect to the fatty acyl residue. For many proteins, the addition of the myristoyl group is essential for membrane association.

There is some evidence that myristoylated proteins do not interact with free lipid bilayer, but require a specific receptor protein in the target membrane.

This entry appears with permission from the Dictionary of Cell and Molecular Biology

(11 Mar 2008)

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