Ubiquitylation at the crossroads of development and disease

Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2018 Jan;19(1):59-70. doi: 10.1038/nrm.2017.83. Epub 2017 Sep 20.


Human development requires intricate cell specification and communication pathways that allow an embryo to generate and appropriately connect more than 200 different cell types. Key to the successful completion of this differentiation programme is the quantitative and reversible regulation of core signalling networks, and post-translational modification with ubiquitin provides embryos with an essential tool to accomplish this task. Instigated by E3 ligases and reversed by deubiquitylases, ubiquitylation controls many processes that are fundamental for development, such as cell division, fate specification and migration. As aberrant function or regulation of ubiquitylation enzymes is at the roots of developmental disorders, cancer, and neurodegeneration, modulating the activity of ubiquitylation enzymes is likely to provide strategies for therapeutic intervention.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Communication / physiology*
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology
  • Humans
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational / physiology
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Ubiquitin / metabolism
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases / metabolism
  • Ubiquitination / physiology*


  • Ubiquitin
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases