Post-translational modification represents an important mechanism to regulate protein
function in cardiac cells. Ubiquitin (Ub) and ubiquitin-like proteins (UBLs) are a family of protein
modifiers that share a certain extent of sequence and structure similarity. Conjugation of Ub or UBLs
to target proteins is dynamically regulated by a set of UBL-specific enzymes and modulates the
physical and physiological properties of protein substrates. Ub and UBLs control a strikingly wide
spectrum of cellular processes and not surprisingly are involved in the development of multiple human
diseases including cardiac diseases. Further identification of novel UBL targets will expand our
understanding of the functional diversity of UBL pathways in physiology and pathology. Here we review
recent findings on the mechanisms, proteome and functions of a subset of UBLs and highlight
their potential impacts on the development and progression of various forms of cardiac diseases.
Keywords: Ubiquitin, ubiquitin-like proteins, cardiomyopathies, proteasome, SUMO, NEDD8.
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