Ubiquitin-mediated degradation a mechanism for fine-tuning TGF-beta signaling.
Effects of the cytokine TGF-beta can be dampened by E3 ubiquitin ligases that target specific Smads, the TGF-beta signal transducers, for proteolytic destruction. Two papers in this issue of Cell highlight the importance of this mechanism in regulating the in vivo effects of TGF-beta. The first paper identifies and characterizes a novel Smad4 ubiquitin ligase, and the second paper redefines the role of a previously identified Smad1 ubiquitin ligase, Smurf-1 (Dupont et al., 2005; Yamashita et al., 2005).
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