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Trends Biochem Sci. 2008 May;33(5):230-7. doi: 10.1016/j.tibs.2008.01.005. Epub 2008 Mar 18.

Activating the ubiquitin family: UBA6 challenges the field.

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  • 1Division of Immunology, Department of Biology, University of Constance, D-78457 Konstanz, Germany.


Since its discovery in 1981, ubiquitin-activating enzyme 1 was thought to be the only E1-type enzyme responsible for ubiquitin activation. Recently, a relatively uncharacterized E1 enzyme, designated ubiquitin-like modifier activating enzyme 6, was also shown to activate ubiquitin. Ubiquitin-activating enzyme 1 and ubiquitin-like modifier activating enzyme 6 are both essential proteins, and each uses a different spectrum of ubiquitin-conjugating (E2) enzymes. Ubiquitin-like modifier activating enzyme 6 activates not only ubiquitin, but also the ubiquitin-like modifier FAT10 (human leukocyte antigen F-associated transcript 10), which, similarly to ubiquitin, serves as a signal for proteasomal degradation. This new layer of regulation in ubiquitin activation markedly increases the versatility of the ubiquitin conjugation system.

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