DoUBLing up: ubiquitin and ubiquitin-like proteases in genome stability

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Maintaining stability of the genome requires dedicated DNA repair and signalling processes that are essential for the faithful duplication and propagation of chromosomes. These DNA damage response (DDR) mechanisms counteract the potentially mutagenic impact of daily genotoxic stresses from both exogenous and endogenous sources. Inherent to these DNA repair pathways is the activity of protein factors that instigate repair processes in response to DNA lesions. The regulation, coordination, and orchestration of these DDR factors is carried out, in a large part, by post-translational modifications, such as phosphorylation, ubiquitylation, and modification with ubiquitin-like proteins (UBLs). The importance of ubiquitylation and UBLylation with SUMO in DNA repair is well established, with the modified targets and downstream signalling consequences relatively well characterised. However, the role of dedicated erasers for ubiquitin and UBLs, known as deubiquitylases (DUBs) and ubiquitin-like proteases (ULPs) respectively, in genome stability is less well established, particularly for emerging UBLs such as ISG15 and UFM1. In this review, we provide an overview of the known regulatory roles and mechanisms of DUBs and ULPs involved in genome stability pathways. Expanding our understanding of the molecular agents and mechanisms underlying the removal of ubiquitin and UBL modifications will be fundamental for progressing our knowledge of the DDR and likely provide new therapeutic avenues for relevant human diseases, such as cancer.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)515-545
Number of pages31
JournalThe Biochemical Journal
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 4 Apr 2024


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