E2 enzymes in genome stability: pulling the strings behind the scenes

Hugh Osborne, Elsa Irving, Josep V. Forment, Christine Schmidt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ubiquitin and ubiquitin-like proteins (UBLs) function as critical post-translational modifiers in the maintenance of genome stability. Ubiquitin/UBL-conjugating enzymes (E2s) are responsible, as part of a wider enzymatic cascade, for transferring single moieties or poly-chains of ubiquitin/UBLs to one or multiple residues on substrate proteins. Recent advances in structural and mechanistic understanding of how ubiquitin/UBL substrate attachment is orchestrated indicate that E2s can exert control over chain topology, substrate-site specificity and downstream physiological effects to help maintain genome stability. Drug discovery efforts have typically focussed on modulating other members of the ubiquitin/UBL cascades, or the ubiquitin-proteasome system. Here, we review the current standing of E2s in genome stability and revisit their potential as pharmacological targets for developing novel anti-cancer therapies.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTrends in Cell Biology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 29 Jan 2021


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