The C-terminal domain of zDHHC2 contains distinct sorting signals that regulate intracellular localisation in neurons and neuroendocrine cells
The S-acyltransferase zDHHC2 mediates dynamic S-acylation of PSD95 and AKAP79/150, which impacts synaptic targeting of AMPA receptors. zDHHC2 is responsive to synaptic activity and catalyses the increased S-acylation of PSD95 that occurs following action potential blockade or application of ionotropic glutamate receptor antagonists. These treatments have been proposed to increase plasma membrane delivery of zDHHC2 via an endosomal cycling pathway, enhancing substrate accessibility. To generate an improved understanding of zDHHC2 trafficking and how this might be regulated by neuronal activity, we searched for intramolecular signals that regulate enzyme localisation. Two signals were mapped to the C-terminal tail of zDHHC2: a non-canonical dileucine motif [SxxxLL] and a downstream NP motif. Mutation of these signals enhanced plasma membrane accumulation of zDHHC2 in both neuroendocrine PC12 cells and rat hippocampal neurons, consistent with reduced endocytic retrieval. Furthermore, mutation of these signals also increased accumulation of the enzyme in neurites. Interestingly, several threonine and serine residues are adjacent to these sorting motifs and analysis of phospho-mimetic mutants highlighted a potential role for phosphorylation in regulating the efficacy of these signals. This study offers new molecular insight into the signals that determine zDHHC2 localisation and highlights a potential mechanism to regulate these trafficking signals.