Ubiquitin: structures, functions, mechanisms

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2004 Nov 29;1695(1-3):55-72. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamcr.2004.09.019.


Ubiquitin is the founding member of a family of structurally conserved proteins that regulate a host of processes in eukaryotic cells. Ubiquitin and its relatives carry out their functions through covalent attachment to other cellular proteins, thereby changing the stability, localization, or activity of the target protein. This article reviews the basic biochemistry of these protein conjugation reactions, focusing on ubiquitin itself and emphasizing recent insights into mechanism and specificity.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Binding Sites
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / physiology
  • F-Box Proteins / physiology
  • F-Box-WD Repeat-Containing Protein 7
  • Humans
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Substrate Specificity
  • Ubiquitin / chemistry*
  • Ubiquitin / physiology*
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases / physiology


  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • F-Box Proteins
  • F-Box-WD Repeat-Containing Protein 7
  • FBXW7 protein, human
  • Ubiquitin
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases