A functional proteomics approach links the ubiquitin-related modifier Urm1 to a tRNA modification pathway.
ABSTRACT Urm1 is a highly conserved ubiquitin-related modifier of unknown function. A reduction of cellular Urm1 levels causes severe cytokinesis defects in HeLa cells, resulting in the accumulation of enlarged multinucleated cells. To understand the underlying mechanism, we applied a functional proteomics approach and discovered an enzymatic activity that links Urm1 to a tRNA modification pathway. Unlike ubiquitin (Ub) and many Ub-like modifiers, which are commonly conjugated to proteinaceous targets, Urm1 is activated by an unusual mechanism to yield a thiocarboxylate intermediate that serves as sulfur donor in tRNA thiolation reactions. This mechanism is reminiscent of that used by prokaryotic sulfur carriers and thus defines the evolutionary link between ancient Ub progenitors and the eukaryotic Ub/Ub-like modification systems.
[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Following the discovery of protein modification by the small, highly conserved ubiquitin polypeptide, a number of distinct ubiquitin-like proteins (Ubls) have been found to function as protein modifiers as well. These Ubls, which include SUMO, ISG15, Nedd8, and Atg8, function as critical regulators of many cellular processes, including transcription, DNA repair, signal transduction, autophagy, and cell-cycle control. A growing body of data also implicates the dysregulation of Ubl-substrate modification and mutations in the Ubl-conjugation machinery in the etiology and progression of a number of human diseases. The primary aim of this review is to summarize the latest developments in our understanding of the different Ubl-protein modification systems, including the shared and unique features of these related pathways.Annual Review of Cell and Developmental Biology 02/2006; 22:159-80. · 15.84 Impact Factor