Insights into the biogenesis, function, and regulation of ADP-ribosylation

Nat Chem Biol. 2018 Feb 14;14(3):236-243. doi: 10.1038/nchembio.2568.


ADP-ribosylation-the transfer of ADP-ribose (ADPr) from NAD+ onto target molecules-is catalyzed by members of the ADP-ribosyltransferase (ART) superfamily of proteins, found in all kingdoms of life. Modification of amino acids in protein targets by ADPr regulates critical cellular pathways in eukaryotes and underlies the pathogenicity of certain bacteria. Several members of the ART superfamily are highly relevant for disease; these include the poly(ADP-ribose) polymerases (PARPs), recently shown to be important cancer targets, and the bacterial toxins diphtheria toxin and cholera toxin, long known to be responsible for the symptoms of diphtheria and cholera that result in morbidity. In this Review, we discuss the functions of amino acid ADPr modifications and the ART proteins that make them, the nature of the chemical linkage between ADPr and its targets and how this impacts function and stability, and the way that ARTs select specific amino acids in targets to modify.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • ADP Ribose Transferases / chemistry
  • ADP-Ribosylation*
  • Adenosine Diphosphate Ribose / chemistry
  • Bacteria / chemistry
  • Bacterial Proteins / chemistry
  • Catalytic Domain
  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • Humans
  • Kinetics
  • NAD / chemistry
  • Poly (ADP-Ribose) Polymerase-1 / chemistry*
  • Poly(ADP-ribose) Polymerases / chemistry*
  • Protein Conformation
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • NAD
  • Adenosine Diphosphate Ribose
  • ADP Ribose Transferases
  • PARP1 protein, human
  • Poly (ADP-Ribose) Polymerase-1
  • Poly(ADP-ribose) Polymerases