Protein acetylation plays a critical role in biological processes by regulating the functions and properties of proteins. Thus, the study of protein acetylation dynamics is critical for understanding of how this modification influences protein stability, localization, and function. Here we performed a comprehensive characterization of protein acetylation dynamics using mass spectrometry (MS) based proteomics through utilization of 13C-glucose or D3-acetate, which are metabolized into acetyl-coA, labeling acetyl groups through subsequent incorporation into proteins. Samples were collected at eight time points to monitor rates and trends of heavy acetyl incorporation. Through this platform, we characterized around 1,000 sites with significantly increasing acetylation trends, which we clustered based on their rates of acetylation. Faster rates were enriched on proteins associated with chromatin and RNA metabolism, while slower rates were more typical on proteins involved with lipid metabolism. Among others, we identified sites catalyzed at faster rates with potential critical roles in protein activation, including the histone acetyltransferase p300 acetylated in its activation loop, which could explain self-acetylation as an important feedback mechanism to regulate acetyltransferases. Overall, our studies highlight the dynamic nature of protein acetylation, and how metabolism plays a central role in this regulation.
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