Gettin' down with ubiquitin: turning off cell-surface receptors, transporters and channels

Trends Cell Biol. 1999 Mar;9(3):107-12. doi: 10.1016/s0962-8924(98)01491-3.


G-protein-coupled receptors and transporters in Saccharomyces cerevisiae are modified with ubiquitin in response to ligand biding. In most cases, the proteasome does not recognize these ubiquitinated proteins. Instead, ubiquitination serves to trigger internalization and degradation of plasma membrane proteins in the lysosome-like vacuole. A number of mammalian receptors and at least one ion channel undergo ubiquitination at the plasma membrane, and this modification is required for their downregulation. Some of these cell-surface proteins appear to be degraded by both the proteasome and lysosomal proteases. Recent evidence indicates that other proteins required for receptor internalization might also be regulated by ubiquitination, suggesting that ubiquitin plays diverse roles in regulating plasma membrane protein activity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism*
  • Endocytosis
  • Humans
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / metabolism*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Sodium Channels / metabolism*
  • Ubiquitins / metabolism*


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Sodium Channels
  • Ubiquitins