Dynamics of ubiquitin-mediated signalling: insights from mathematical modelling and experimental studies

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Post-translational modification of cellular proteins by ubiquitin is a pivotal regulatory event that controls not only protein degradation, but also a variety of non-proteolytic functions. Ubiquitination is involved in a broad array of physiological processes, and its dysregulation has been associated with many human diseases, including neuronal disorders and cancers. Ubiquitin-mediated signalling has thus come to the forefront of biomedical research. It is increasingly apparent that ubiquitination is a highly complex and dynamic process, evidenced by a myriad of ways of ubiquitin chain formation, tightly regulatory mechanisms involving E3 ligases and deubiquitinating enzymes and extensive crosstalk with other post-translational modifications. To unravel the complexity of ubiquitination and understand the dynamic properties of ubiquitin-mediated signalling are challenging, but critical topics in ubiquitin research, which will undoubtedly benefit our effort in developing strategies that could target ubiquitin signalling for therapeutics. Computational modelling and model-based approaches are emerging as promising tools that help tackle the complexity and provide useful frameworks for quantitative and dynamical analysis of ubiquitin signalling. In this article, I will discuss recent advances in our understanding of the dynamic behaviour of ubiquitination from both theoretical and experimental studies, and aspects of ubiquitin signalling that may have major dynamical consequences. It is expected the discussed issues will be of relevant interest to both the ubiquitin and systems biology fields.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)479-493
Number of pages15
JournalBriefings in Bioinformatics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 16 May 2016


  • Bistability
  • Mathematical modelling
  • Non-linear dynamics
  • Oscillation
  • Systems analysis
  • Ubiquitin-mediated signalling
  • Ubiquitination

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