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Cell Cycle. 2011 Sep 15;10(18):3095-104. Epub 2011 Sep 15.

Linear polyubiquitin chains: a new modifier involved in NFκB activation and chronic inflammation, including dermatitis.

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  • 1Department of Biophysics and Biochemistry, Graduate School of Medicine, Cell Biology and Metabolism Group, Graduate School of Frontier Biosciences, Osaka University, Osaka, Japan.


The ubiquitin conjugation system regulates a wide variety of biological phenomena, including protein degradation and signal transduction, by regulating protein function via polyubiquitin conjugation in most cases. Several types of polyubiquitin chains exist in cells, and the type of polyubiquitin chain conjugated to a protein seems to determine how that protein is regulated. We identified a novel linear polyubiquitin chain and the ubiquitin-protein ligase complex that assembles it, designated LUBAC. Both were shown to have crucial roles in the canonical NFκB activation pathway. This year, three groups, including our laboratory, identified SHARPIN as a new subunit of LUBAC. Of great interest, Sharpin was identified as a causative gene of chronic proliferative dermatitis in mice (cpdm), which is characterized by numerous inflammatory symptoms including chronic dermatitis, arthritis and immune disorders. Deletion of SHARPIN drastically reduces the amount of LUBAC and attenuates signal-induced NFκB activation. The pleomorphic symptoms of cpdm mice suggest that LUBAC-mediated NFκB activation may play critical roles in mammals and be involved in various disorders. A forward look into the linear polyubiquitin research is also discussed.

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