A single activity carboxyl methylates both farnesyl and geranylgeranyl cysteine residues

Craig Volker, Pamela Lane, Cynthia Kwee, Mark Johnson, Jeff Stock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Members of the Ras superfamily of small GTP-binding proteins, γ-subunits of heterotrimeric G proteins and nuclear lamin B are subject to a series of post-translational modifications that produce prenylcysteine methylester groups at their carboxyl termini. The thioether-linked polyisoprenoid substituent can be either farnesyl (C15) or geranylgeranyl (C20). Small molecule prenylcysteine derivatives with either the C15 or C20 modification, such as N-acetyl-S-trans,trans-farnesyl-L-cysteine (AFC), S-trans,trans-farnesylthiopropionate (FTP), as well as the corresponding geranylgeranyl derivatives (AGGC and GGTP) are substrates for the carboxyl methyltransferase. Saccharomyces cerevisiae ste 14 mutants that lack RAS and a-factor carboxyl methyltransferase activity are also unable to methylate farnesyl and geranylgeranylcysteine derivatives. Moreover, C20-substituted cysteine analogs directly compete for carboxyl methylation with the C15-substituted cysteine analogs and vice versa. Finally, AGGC is even more effective than AFC as an inhibitor of Ras carboxyl methylation, despite the fact that Ras is methylated at a farnesylcysteine rather than a geranylgeranylcysteine residue.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-194
Number of pages6
JournalFEBS Letters
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Dec 16 1991

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Biophysics
  • Structural Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


  • GTP-binding protein
  • Membrane attachment
  • Prenylcysteine
  • Protein carboxyl methylation
  • Transforming protein


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