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Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol. 2010 Mar;2(3):a003350. doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a003350.

Signaling to NF-kappaB: regulation by ubiquitination.

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  • 1Department of Protein Engineering, Genentech, Inc., South San Francisco, California 94080, USA.


The NF-kappaB pathway is a ubiquitous stress response that activates the NF-kappaB family of transcription factors. Antigen receptors, receptors of the innate immune system, and certain intracellular stressors are potent activators of this pathway. The transcriptional program that is activated is both antiapoptotic and highly proinflammatory. Indeed, any compromise in engagement of the pathway results in immunodeficiency, whereas constitutive activation generates a sustained inflammatory response that may promote malignancy. As such, NF-kappaB activation is under tight regulation by a number of post-translational modifications, including phosphorylation and ubiquitination. This article attempts to synthesize our current knowledge regarding the regulation of NF-kappaB signaling by ubiquitination, specifically highlighting the biochemical basis for both positive and negative feedback loops that function in unison to generate coordinated signals that are essential for the viability of metazoan animals.

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