Post-translational modification by small ubiquitin-like modifier (SUMO) has emerged as a
global mechanism for the control and integration of a wide variety of biological processes through the
regulation of protein activity, stability and intracellular localization. As SUMOylation is examined in
greater detail, it has become clear that the process is at the root of several pathologies including heart,
endocrine, and inflammatory disease, and various types of cancer. Moreover, it is certain that perturbation
of this process, either globally or of a specific protein, accounts for many instances of congenital
birth defects. In order to be successful, practical strategies to ameliorate conditions due to disruptions
in this post-translational modification will need to consider the multiple components of the SUMOylation
machinery and the extraordinary number of proteins that undergo this modification.
Keywords: SUMO, SUMO ligase, SENP protease, heart development, heart failure, cancer, neurodegenerative disease, congenital birth defects, spina bifida, neural tube.
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