A superfamily of protein tags: ubiquitin, SUMO and related modifiers

Trends Biochem Sci. 2003 Jun;28(6):321-8. doi: 10.1016/S0968-0004(03)00113-0.


The biological functions of many proteins are altered by their covalent attachment to polypeptide modifiers. The best-known example of this type of modification is ubiquitination. Ubiquitin has a well-documented role in targeting proteins for degradation by the proteasome, but additional effects of protein ubiquitination are now being uncovered. Furthermore, multiple polypeptides that are distinct from, but related to, ubiquitin are also enzymatically coupled to target macromolecules, and these ubiquitin-like proteins participate in diverse biological processes such as DNA repair, autophagy and signal transduction.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, Surface / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Factors
  • Protein Conformation
  • Signal Transduction
  • Small Ubiquitin-Related Modifier Proteins / physiology*


  • Antigens, Surface
  • Immunologic Factors
  • Small Ubiquitin-Related Modifier Proteins