SUMO Interacting Motifs
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  • Release Date: 2021-12-13
  • SUMO
  • SUMO interacting motif
  • phase separation
  • DNA repair
  • host–pathogen interactions
  • histones
  • post-translational protein modification
Video Introduction

This video is adapted from 10.3390/cells10112825

Small ubiquitin-related modifier (SUMO) is a member of the ubiquitin-related protein family. SUMO modulates protein function through covalent conjugation to lysine residues in a large number of proteins. Once covalently conjugated to a protein, SUMO often regulates that protein’s function by recruiting other cellular proteins. Recruitment frequently involves a non-covalent interaction between SUMO and a SUMO-interacting motif (SIM) in the interacting protein. SIMs generally consist of a four-residue-long hydrophobic stretch of amino acids with aliphatic non-polar side chains flanked on one side by negatively charged amino acid residues. The SIM assumes an extended β-strand-like conformation and binds to a conserved hydrophobic groove in SUMO. In addition to hydrophobic interactions between the SIM non-polar core and hydrophobic residues in the groove, the negatively charged residues in the SIM make favorable electrostatic contacts with positively charged residues in and around the groove. The SIM/SUMO interaction can be regulated by the phosphorylation of residues adjacent to the SIM hydrophobic core, which provide additional negative charges for favorable electrostatic interaction with SUMO. The SUMO interactome consists of hundreds or perhaps thousands of SIM-containing proteins, but we do not fully understand how each SUMOylated protein selects the set of SIM-containing proteins appropriate to its function. SIM/SUMO interactions have critical functions in a large number of essential cellular processes including the formation of membraneless organelles by liquid–liquid phase separation, epigenetic regulation of transcription through histone modification, DNA repair, and a variety of host–pathogen interactions.

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Courey, A.; Eidson, C. SUMO Interacting Motifs. Encyclopedia. Available online: (accessed on 19 April 2024).
Courey A, Eidson C. SUMO Interacting Motifs. Encyclopedia. Available at: Accessed April 19, 2024.
Courey, Albert, Christian Eidson. "SUMO Interacting Motifs" Encyclopedia, (accessed April 19, 2024).
Courey, A., & Eidson, C. (2021, December 13). SUMO Interacting Motifs. In Encyclopedia.
Courey, Albert and Christian Eidson. "SUMO Interacting Motifs." Encyclopedia. Web. 13 December, 2021.