The family of ubiquitin-like (UBL) domain proteins (UDPs) comprises a conserved group of proteins involved in a multitude of different cellular activities. However, recent studies on UBL-domain proteins indicate that these proteins appear to share a common property in their ability to interact with 26S proteasomes. The 26S proteasome is a multisubunit protease which is responsible for the majority of intracellular proteolysis in eukaryotic cells. Before degradation commences most proteins are first marked for destruction by being coupled to a chain of ubiquitin molecules. Some UBL-domain proteins catalyse the formation of ubiquitin-protein conjugates, whereas others appear to target ubiquitinated proteins for degradation and interact with chaperones. Hence, by binding to the 26S proteasome the UBL-domain proteins seem to tailor and direct the basic proteolytic functions of the particle to accommodate various cellular substrates.
Seminars in Cell and Developmental Biology, 2004, Vol 15, Issue 2, p. 247-59