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Sci STKE. 2006 Apr 11;2006(330):pe18.

What's Ub chain linkage got to do with it?

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  • 1Institute of Biotechnology, Department of Molecular Medicine, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, TX 78245, USA.


Ubiquitination-the covalent conjugation of ubiquitin (Ub) to other cellular proteins-regulates a wide range of cellular processes. Often, multiple Ub molecules are added to the substrate to form a Ub chain. Distinct outcomes have been observed for substrates modified with multi-Ub chains linked through particular lysine residues. However, recent studies suggest that Ub chain linkages may not be the key determinant for substrate fate. Here, we review evidence suggesting that Ub-binding proteins play a pivotal role in determining the outcome of substrate ubiquitination. In fulfilling their functions in proteasome-mediated proteolysis or signaling, Ub receptors link ubiquitinated proteins to downstream molecules through protein-protein interactions. Studies of Ub-binding factors may therefore hold the key to understanding the diverse functions of the Ub molecule.

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