What’s Ub Chain Linkage Got to Do with It?

Science's STKE  11 Apr 2006:
Vol. 2006, Issue 330, pp. pe18
DOI: 10.1126/stke.3302006pe18

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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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