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Open AccessFeature PaperReview

Ubiquitin-Like Modifiers: Emerging Regulators of Protozoan Parasites

Department of Pathology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 1QP, UK
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Biomolecules 2020, 10(10), 1403; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10101403
Received: 15 September 2020 / Revised: 28 September 2020 / Accepted: 1 October 2020 / Published: 3 October 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ubiquitin-Like Modifiers and Their Diverse Impact on Cell Signaling)
Post-translational protein regulation allows for fine-tuning of cellular functions and involves a wide range of modifications, including ubiquitin and ubiquitin-like modifiers (Ubls). The dynamic balance of Ubl conjugation and removal shapes the fates of target substrates, in turn modulating various cellular processes. The mechanistic aspects of Ubl pathways and their biological roles have been largely established in yeast, plants, and mammalian cells. However, these modifiers may be utilised differently in highly specialised and divergent organisms, such as parasitic protozoa. In this review, we explore how these parasites employ Ubls, in particular SUMO, NEDD8, ATG8, ATG12, URM1, and UFM1, to regulate their unconventional cellular physiology. We discuss emerging data that provide evidence of Ubl-mediated regulation of unique parasite-specific processes, as well as the distinctive features of Ubl pathways in parasitic protozoa. We also highlight the potential to leverage these essential regulators and their cognate enzymatic machinery for development of therapeutics to protect against the diseases caused by protozoan parasites. View Full-Text
Keywords: ubiquitin-like; SUMO; NEDD8; ATG8; ATG12; URM1; UFM1; parasite; protozoa; post- translational regulation ubiquitin-like; SUMO; NEDD8; ATG8; ATG12; URM1; UFM1; parasite; protozoa; post- translational regulation
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MDPI and ACS Style

Karpiyevich, M.; Artavanis-Tsakonas, K. Ubiquitin-Like Modifiers: Emerging Regulators of Protozoan Parasites. Biomolecules 2020, 10, 1403.

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