Identification of PSD-95 palmitoylating enzymes.
Palmitoylation is a lipid modification that plays a critical role in protein trafficking and function throughout the nervous system. Palmitoylation of PSD-95 is essential for its regulation of AMPA receptors and synaptic plasticity. The enzymes that mediate palmitoyl acyl transfer to PSD-95 have not yet been identified; however, proteins containing a DHHC cysteine-rich domain mediate palmitoyl acyl transferase activity in yeast. Here, we isolated 23 mammalian DHHC proteins and found that a subset specifically palmitoylated PSD-95 in vitro and in vivo. These PSD-95 palmitoyl transferases (P-PATs) showed substrate specificity, as they did not all enhance palmitoylation of Lck, SNAP-25b, Galpha(s), or H-Ras in cultured cells. Inhibition of P-PAT activity in neurons reduced palmitoylation and synaptic clustering of PSD-95 and diminished AMPA receptor-mediated neurotransmission. This study suggests that P-PATs regulate synaptic function through PSD-95 palmitoylation.