Writing histone monoubiquitination in human malignancy—The role of RING finger E3 ubiquitin ligases

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Genes, 2019, 10 (1)
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© 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. There is growing evidence highlighting the importance of monoubiquitination as part of the histone code. Monoubiquitination, the covalent attachment of a single ubiquitin molecule at specific lysines of histone tails, has been associated with transcriptional elongation and the DNA damage response. Sites function as scaffolds or docking platforms for proteins involved in transcription or DNA repair; however, not all sites are equal, with some sites resulting in actively transcribed chromatin and others associated with gene silencing. All events are written by E3 ubiquitin ligases, predominantly of the RING (really interesting new gene) finger type. One of the most well-studied events is monoubiquitination of histone H2B at lysine 120 (H2Bub1), written predominantly by the RING finger complex RNF20-RNF40 and generally associated with active transcription. Monoubiquitination of histone H2A at lysine 119 (H2AK119ub1) is also well-studied, its E3 ubiquitin ligase constituting part of thePolycomb Repressor Complex 1 (PRC1), RING1B-BMI1, associated with transcriptional silencing. Both modifications are activated as part of the DNA damage response. Histone monoubiquitination is a key epigenomic event shaping the chromatin landscape of malignancy and influencing how cells respond to DNA damage. This review discusses a number of these sites and the E3 RING finger ubiquitin ligases that write them.
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