Developmental regulation and spatiotemporal redistribution of the sumoylation machinery in the rat central nervous system

PLoS One. 2012;7(3):e33757. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0033757. Epub 2012 Mar 16.


Background: Small Ubiquitin-like MOdifier protein (SUMO) is a key regulator of nuclear functions but little is known regarding the role of the post-translational modification sumoylation outside of the nucleus, particularly in the Central Nervous System (CNS).

Methodology/principal findings: Here, we report that the expression levels of SUMO-modified substrates as well as the components of the sumoylation machinery are temporally and spatially regulated in the developing rat brain. Interestingly, while the overall sumoylation is decreasing during brain development, there are progressively more SUMO substrates localized at synapses. This increase is correlated with a differential redistribution of the sumoylation machinery into dendritic spines during neuronal maturation.

Conclusions/significance: Overall, our data clearly demonstrate that the sumoylation process is developmentally regulated in the brain with high levels of nuclear sumoylation early in the development suggesting a role for this post-translational modification during the synaptogenesis period and a redistribution of the SUMO system towards dendritic spines at a later developmental stage to modulate synaptic protein function.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / embryology
  • Brain / growth & development
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Central Nervous System / embryology
  • Central Nervous System / growth & development
  • Central Nervous System / metabolism*
  • Dendrites / metabolism
  • Hippocampus / cytology
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • Neurogenesis / physiology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Subcellular Fractions / metabolism
  • Sumoylation*
  • Synapses / metabolism
  • Tissue Distribution
  • Ubiquitin-Conjugating Enzymes / chemistry
  • Ubiquitin-Conjugating Enzymes / metabolism


  • Ubiquitin-Conjugating Enzymes
  • ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme UBC9