The endosomal pathway provides a major platform for ubiquitin-modifying enzymes, which act upon membrane-associated proteins in transit. Ubiquitylated cargo proteins are recognized by ubiquitin-binding domains inherent to key adaptor proteins at the plasma membrane and sorting endosome. A balance between ubiquitylation and deubiquitylation activities may govern the efficiency of recycling from endosomes to the plasma membrane versus lysosomal sorting through the multivesicular body pathway. We discuss the current knowledge of the properties of adaptors and ubiquitin-modifying proteins and their effects upon the trafficking and signaling of receptors and ligands associated with pathways fundamental to development.
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