Posttranslational covalent modification of proteins

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  02 Dec 1977:
Vol. 198, Issue 4320, pp. 890-896
DOI: 10.1126/science.337487


A search for derivatized amino acids in proteins has shown that the extent of posttranslational modification of proteins is quite substantial. While only 20 primary amino acids are specified in the genetic code and are involved as monomer building blocks in the assembly of the polypeptide chain, about 140 amino acids and amino acid derivatives have been identified as constituents of different proteins in different organisms. A brief consideration of the questions about where and when the derivatization reactions occur, how the specificity of the reactions is established, and how the posttranslational modifications can facilitate biological processes, reveal a need for more information on all these points. Answers to these questions should represent significant contributions to our understanding of biochemistry and cell biology.