Protein post-translational modification (PTM) is a powerful way to modify the behavior of cellular proteins and thereby cellular behavior. Multiple recent studies of evolutionary trends have shown that certain pairs of protein post-translational modifications tend to occur closer to each other than expected at random. This type of observation may form the basis of a proposed "PTM code", whereby protein function is controlled by complex patterns of multiple PTMs. This code could provide an additional, powerful level of regulatory control for protein function and is a plausible explanation for observations of increasingly frequent and diverse protein modification in cell biology. In this study, we use mass spectrometry and proteomic strategies to present biological data showing spatiotemporal PTM co-localization across multiple PTM categories, which display changes over development of the brain. This may be an indication of the existence of a PTM-based functional coding mechanism, which would significantly expand our view of the ways in which cells use protein PTMs in complex signaling networks.
Journal of Proteome Research, 2014, Vol 13, Issue 1