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Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2009 Aug;10(8):550-63. doi: 10.1038/nrm2731.

Breaking the chains: structure and function of the deubiquitinases.

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Medical Research Council, Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Hills Road, Cambridge, CB2 0QH, UK.


Ubiquitylation is a reversible protein modification that is implicated in many cellular functions. Recently, much progress has been made in the characterization of a superfamily of isopeptidases that remove ubiquitin: the deubiquitinases (DUBs; also known as deubiquitylating or deubiquitinating enzymes). Far from being uniform in structure and function, these enzymes display a myriad of distinct mechanistic features. The small number (<100) of DUBs might at first suggest a low degree of selectivity; however, DUBs are subject to multiple layers of regulation that modulate both their activity and their specificity. Due to their wide-ranging involvement in key regulatory processes, these enzymes might provide new therapeutic targets.

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