Ubiquitin links to cytoskeletal dynamics, cell adhesion and migration

Antje Schaefer, Micha Nethe, Peter L. Hordijk*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Post-translational modifications are used by cells to link additional information to proteins. Most modifications are subtle and concern small moieties such as a phosphate group or a lipid. In contrast, protein ubiquitylation entails the covalent attachment of a full-length protein such as ubiquitin. The protein ubiquitylation machinery is remarkably complex, comprising more than 15 Ubls (ubiquitin-like proteins) and several hundreds of ubiquitin-conjugating enzymes. Ubiquitin is best known for its role as a tag that induces protein destruction either by the proteasome or through targeting to lysosomes. However, addition of one or more Ubls also affects vesicular traffic, protein-protein interactions and signal transduction. It is by now well established that ubiquitylation is a component of most, if not all, cellular signalling pathways. Owing to its abundance in controlling cellular functions, ubiquitylation is also of key relevance to human pathologies, including cancer and inflammation. In the present review, we focus on its role in the control of cell adhesion, polarity and directionalmigration. It will become clear that protein modification byUbls occurs at every level from the receptors at the plasma membrane down to cytoskeletal components such as actin, with differential consequences for the pathway's final output. Since ubiquitylation is fast as well as reversible, it represents a bona fide signalling event, which is used to fine-tune a cell's responses to receptor agonists.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-25
Number of pages13
JournalBiochemical Journal
Volume442
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2012

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