Extranuclear SUMOylation in Neurons

Trends Neurosci. 2018 Apr;41(4):198-210. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2018.02.004. Epub 2018 Mar 9.


Post-translational modification of substrate proteins by SUMO conjugation regulates a diverse array of cellular processes. While predominantly a nuclear protein modification, there is a growing appreciation that SUMOylation of proteins outside the nucleus plays direct roles in controlling synaptic transmission, neuronal excitability, and adaptive responses to cell stress. Furthermore, alterations in protein SUMOylation are observed in a wide range of neurological and neurodegenerative diseases, and several extranuclear disease-associated proteins have been shown to be directly SUMOylated. Here, focusing mainly on SUMOylation of synaptic and mitochondrial proteins, we outline recent developments and discoveries, and present our opinion as to the most exciting avenues for future research to define how SUMOylation of extranuclear proteins regulates neuronal and synaptic function.

Keywords: AMPA receptor; SUMO; dynamin-related protein 1 (Drp1); fission; kainate receptor; mitochondria; post-translational modification; synapse.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / metabolism
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational / physiology
  • Sumoylation / physiology*
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology*


  • Mitochondrial Proteins