SUMO/sentrin: protein modifiers regulating important cellular functions

Biochem Cell Biol. 1999;77(4):299-309.


Regulation of protein functions can be achieved by posttranslational protein modifications. One of the most studied modifications has been conjugation to ubiquitin, which mainly targets substrate proteins for degradation by the 26 S proteasome. Recently, SUMO/sentrin, a ubiquitin-like protein has been characterized. This evolutionary conserved protein is conjugated to specific proteins in a way similar, but not identical, to ubiquitin and seems also to be involved in the regulation of protein localization or function. An increasing number of SUMO/sentrin substrates are currently described. We focus here on three major substrates of modification by SUMO: RanGAP1, PML, and IkappaBalpha proteins. These different examples illustrate how SUMO conjugation may be involved in the control of the level of critical proteins within the cell or in the modulation of subcellular localization and nucleocytoplasmic trafficking.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • GTPase-Activating Proteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • I-kappa B Proteins / metabolism
  • Ligases / metabolism
  • Models, Biological
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism
  • SUMO-1 Protein
  • Ubiquitin-Conjugating Enzymes*
  • Ubiquitins / physiology*


  • GTPase-Activating Proteins
  • I-kappa B Proteins
  • NF-kappa B
  • RANGAP1 protein, human
  • SUMO-1 Protein
  • Ubiquitins
  • Ubiquitin-Conjugating Enzymes
  • Ligases
  • ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme UBC9