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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2011 Aug;1812(8):909-18. doi: 10.1016/j.bbadis.2010.12.008. Epub 2010 Dec 21.

Transcriptional control of metabolic and inflammatory pathways by nuclear receptor SUMOylation.

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Karolinska Institutet, Center for Biosciences, Department of Biosciences and Nutrition, S-14183 Stockholm, Sweden.


Nuclear receptors (NRs) exert crucial functions in controlling metabolism and inflammation by both positively and negatively regulating gene expression. Recent evidence suggests that the transcriptional activities of many NRs can be modulated and even re-directed through post-translational modification by small ubiquitin-related modifiers (SUMO). SUMOylation triggers a plethora of diverse molecular events that can alter both the fate and function of modified NRs at the nongenomic, genomic, and epigenomic level. However, it is the intriguing link of SUMOylation to transcriptional repression, and in particular to transrepression, that has emerged as a common underlying mechanism that impacts on biological processes controlled by NRs. It further appears that the cell-type-specific SUMOylation status of NRs can be regulated by ligands and by signal-dependent crosstalk of post-translational modifications. Given the causal role of altered NR signaling in the development and pathogenesis of human diseases, it is likely that aberrant SUMO conjugation, deconjugation, or interpretation contributes to these alterations. Here, we review the current progress made in both the study and understanding of the molecular mechanisms and consequences of NR SUMOylation and also discuss the physiological and pharmacological implications with a particular focus on transrepression pathways that link metabolism and inflammation. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Translating nuclear receptors from health to disease.

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