The small ubiquitin-like modifier (SUMO) conjugation (or SUMOylation) is a post-translational protein modification mechanism activated by different stress conditions that has been recently investigated in experimental models of cerebral ischemia. The expression of SUMOylation enzymes and substrates is not restricted to the nucleus, since they are present also in the cytoplasm and on plasma membrane and are involved in several physiological and pathological conditions. In the last decades, convincing evidence have supported the idea that the increased levels of SUMOylated proteins may induce tolerance to ischemic stress. In particular, it has been established that protein SUMOylation may confer neuroprotection during ischemic preconditioning. Considering the increasing evidence that SUMO can modify stability and expression of ion channels and transporters and the relevance of controlling ionic homeostasis in ischemic conditions, the present review will resume the main aspects of SUMO pathways related to the key molecules involved in maintenance of ionic homeostasis during cerebral ischemia and ischemic preconditioning, with a particular focus on the on Na+/Ca2+ exchangers.
Keywords: Cerebral ischemia; Ischemic preconditioning; NCX; Na(+)/Ca(2+)exchanger; SUMO.
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