Several members of the Src family of protein tyrosine kinases have a N-terminal dual acylation motif which specifies their myristoylation and S-acylation. These lipid modifications are necessary for correct intracellular localisation to the plasma membrane and to detergent-resistant glycolipid-enriched membrane domains (GEMs). Using chimaeras of the Lck dual acylation motif with two normally cytosolic proteins (chloramphenicol acetyl transferase and galectin-3), we show here that this motif is sufficient to encode correct lipid modification and to target these chimaeras to the plasma membrane, as demonstrated by subcellular fractionation and confocal immunofluorescence microscopy of transiently transfected COS cells. In addition, the chimaeras are resistant to extraction with cold non-ionic detergent, indicating targeting to GEM subdomains in the plasma membrane. The dual acylation motif has potential for targeting proteins to specific plasma membrane subdomains involved in signalling.

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