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Trends Biochem Sci. 2008 May;33(5):201-8. doi: 10.1016/j.tibs.2008.02.001. Epub 2008 Apr 9.

A SIM-ultaneous role for SUMO and ubiquitin.

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Department of Molecular Biology, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.


Ubiquitin and ubiquitin-like proteins (Ubls) share a beta-GRASP fold and have key roles in cellular growth and suppression of genome instability. Despite their common fold, SUMO and ubiquitin are classically portrayed as distinct, and they can have antagonistic roles. Recently, a new family of proteins, the small ubiquitin-related modifier (SUMO)-targeted ubiquitin ligases (STUbLs), which directly connect sumoylation and ubiquitylation, has been discovered. Uniquely, STUbLs use SUMO-interaction motifs (SIMs) to recognize their sumoylated targets. STUbLs are global regulators of protein sumoylation levels, and cells lacking STUbLs display genomic instability and hypersensitivity to genotoxic stress. The human STUbL, RNF4, is implicated in several diseases including cancer, highlighting the importance of characterizing the cellular functions of STUbLs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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