Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Molecular Pharmacology

pp 1263-1266


  • Klaus-Peter KnobelochAffiliated withLeibniz-Institut für Molekulare Pharmakologie


Protein degradation; Posttranslational protein modification


Protein modification by the covalent attachment of ubiquitin chains serves as a signal to mark proteins for the degradation by a multicatalytic proteinase complex called the proteasome. Thus the ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS) controls the stability of proteins in a regulated manner affecting multiple essential cellular processes. In addition, dependent on the mode of linkage, ubiquitin regulates protein-protein interaction, endocytosis, replication and the formation of signaling complexes in a proteasome-independent fashion. Beside phosphorylation ubiquitination represents the most important posttranslational regulatory mechanism in biology.

Basic Mechanisms

Ubiquitin Conjugation

Ubiquitin is a highly conserved 8.5 kDa polypeptide, which was first described in 1974. The discovery that the Ubiquitin proteasome system serves as a general mechanism to target proteins for destruct ...

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