Members of the ubiquitin-like protein family are known for their ability to modify substrates by covalent conjugation. The highly conserved ubiquitin relative UBL5/Hub1, however, is atypical because it lacks a carboxy-terminal di-glycine motif required for conjugation, and the whole E1-E2-E3 enzyme cascade is likely absent. Though the conjugation-mediated role of UBL5/Hub1 is controversial, it undoubtedly functions by interacting non-covalently with its partners. Several interactors of UBL5/Hub1 identified to date have suggested broad stress-responsive functions of the protein, for example, stress-induced control of pre-mRNA splicing, Fanconi anemia pathway of DNA damage repair, and mitochondrial unfolded protein response. While having an atypical mode of function, UBL5/Hub1 is still a stress protein that regulates feedback to various stimuli in a similar manner to other ubiquitin-like proteins. In this review, I discuss recent progress in understanding the functions of UBL5/Hub1 and the fundamental questions which remain to be answered.
(1) Chanarat S. UBL5/Hub1: An atypical ubiquitin-like protein with a typical role as a stress-responsive regulator. Int J Mol Sci 2021;22(17).
Dr. Sittinan Chanarat