SUMO is a small ubiquitin-related protein modifier that is involved in a number of biological processes, including transcription, DNA repair, genome stability, and chromatin organization. Its potential role in mRNA biogenesis is less well investigated. The biogenesis of mRNA is closely coupled to transcription as well as mRNA nuclear export and several of the involved proteins have dual roles and appear in several complexes. Recently, SUMO-proteome analyses have discovered a number of these proteins as putative targets of SUMO regulation. In the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, several mutants as well as environmental conditions have been identified that show a close correlation between over- and under-sumoylation of nuclear proteins and mRNA export retention. Three new plant SUMO-proteome studies add to the list of potentially sumoylated RNA-related proteins. Here, the emerging connection between SUMO and mRNA export is compared across kingdoms and its potential mechanistic role is discussed. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Nuclear Transport and RNA Processing.
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