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Posttranslational Modification of Proteins. Expanding Nature's Inventory. By Christopher T. Walsh

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into the fact that scientific knowledge is
not static but dynamic, and is continually evolving.
Because of the way in which the
contents of the book are arranged, as
has already been described, some topics
are unavoidably repeated in several
places, even though they are discussed
from different viewpoints. For example,
the thermodynamic stability of the norbornyl cation, which is discussed in the
first part (p. 90), is treated extensively
again in the second part in connection
with SN reactions (pp. 662 ff), whereas
its electronic structure is not described
in detail until it appears in the third part
(p. 857). However, the good index and
some appropriate cross-references in
the text ensure that one can easily find
the relevant places in the book.
In the first edition of a substantial
work such as this, it is inevitable that a
few errors and inconsistencies have
slipped through, two of which are mentioned here. In Chapters 7.3 and 11.7,
very different values are given for the
selectivity of hydrogen abstraction in
free-radical bromination. In the discussion about the torsional energy barrier
in ethane (Chapter 2.3), the barrier is
said to be caused by the steric interaction between the ecliptic hydrogen
atoms; that interaction is in fact rather
small—other more important effects,
such as hyperconjugation or Pauli repulsion, are not mentioned. Errors such as
these should to be corrected in the
revision for the second edition, which
will no doubt come quite soon. Also, for
the energy values in the book, which are
given throughout in kcal, the values in
kJ should be added.
However, the book contains a great
wealth of valuable information. It is well
written from a didactic standpoint, and
the two-color illustrations convey a very
good visual impression. Students and
others are emphatically recommended
to read this excellent book. “Anslyn and
Dougherty” should be in every chemical
library. It will be a valuable aid to every
student, but it can also be strongly
recommended for all research chemists
as a reference source on physical-
organic chemistry. The book is a worthwhile investment.
Carsten Schmuck
Institut fr Organische Chemie
Universitt Wrzburg (Germany)
Posttranslational Modification of
Nature’s Inventory.
By Christopher T.
Walsh. Roberts &
Co. 2005. 576 pp.,
$ 98.00.—ISBN
In his book Posttranslational Modification of Proteins, Christopher T. Walsh
gives a comprehensive overview of different ways in which proteins can
become modified within the cell after
protein translation, and can be observed
in vivo. In the last few years, following
the successful sequencing of many different genomes, there has been
increased interest in posttranslational
modifications, which increase the
number of possible molecular variations
of proteins in the living cell by several
orders of magnitude. It has been estimated that about 5 % of the human
genome codes for enzymes that are
important for the posttranslational modification of proteins. When one considers that the human proteome is ten to a
hundred times more complex than the
genome, it becomes clear that the task of
understanding posttranslational variations, with the aim of elucidating and
understanding physiological processes
in cells, tissues, and whole organisms, is
a fundamental challenge. In his book,
Walsh describes the most important
types of posttranslational modifications,
in a clear and understandable way, with
references to recently published work.
6 2006 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
The introduction explains the fundamentals and the importance of protein translation and posttranslational
modification, and thus provides the
reader who is new to the subject with
the basic knowledge to begin. In the
following chapters, the enzymes
involved in the posttranscriptional modification of proteins, and the role of such
modified proteins in biological processes such as signal transduction and
metabolism, are described in clear language and with an appropriate amount
of detail. Thus, while the book is certainly suitable for students, it also allows
more advanced readers to discover new
aspects. The processes described include
the phosphorylation, sulfurylation,
methylation, lipidization, hydroxylation,
acetylation, glycosylation, carboxylation, and amidation of proteins. Other
topics covered are cofactor modifications, ubiquitin, cystine formation, proteolytic modifications, and self-modifying reactions of proteins.
All of this is supported by numerous
examples. These contain many abbreviations and acronyms, but readers should
not allow that to confuse and deter
them. The descriptions throughout the
book are illustrated by many figures, but
as the legends that accompany these are
very brief, they are sometimes difficult
to understand without a careful reading
of the relevant text. The contents of the
book are arranged according to the
different types of covalent modifications
in particular amino acid side-chains of
proteins. This enables one to quickly
find a desired topic and to look up
particular aspects of posttranslational
modification. However, the sequence of
the chapters in relation to each other
does not always follow a clear pattern.
All things considered, this is a highly
enjoyable book on a topical theme that
is unreservedly recommended to biochemistry students and scientists.
Annette G. Beck-Sickinger, Karin Mrl
Institut fr Biochemie
Universitt Leipzig (Germany)
DOI: 10.1002/anie.200585363
Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2006, 45, 1019 – 1020
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nature, christopher, expanding, protein, walsh, inventory, posttranslational, modification
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