Ubiquitin: Molecular modeling and simulations

Assaf Ganoth*, Yossi Tsfadia, Reuven Wiener

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The synthesis and destruction of proteins are imperative for maintaining their cellular homeostasis. In the 1970s, Aaron Ciechanover, Avram Hershko, and Irwin Rose discovered that certain proteins are tagged by ubiquitin before degradation, a discovery that awarded them the 2004 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Compelling data gathered during the last several decades show that ubiquitin plays a vital role not only in protein degradation but also in many cellular functions including DNA repair processes, cell cycle regulation, cell growth, immune system functionality, hormone-mediated signaling in plants, vesicular trafficking pathways, regulation of histone modification and viral budding. Due to the involvement of ubiquitin in such a large number of diverse cellular processes, flaws and impairments in the ubiquitin system were found to be linked to cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, genetic disorders, and immunological disorders. Hence, deciphering the dynamics and complexity of the ubiquitin system is of significant importance. In addition to experimental techniques, computational methodologies have been gaining increasing influence in protein research and are used to uncover the structure, stability, folding, mechanism of action and interactions of proteins. Notably, molecular modeling and molecular dynamics simulations have become powerful tools that bridge the gap between structure and function while providing dynamic insights and illustrating essential mechanistic characteristics. In this study, we present an overview of molecular modeling and simulations of ubiquitin and the ubiquitin system, evaluate the status of the field, and offer our perspective on future progress in this area of research.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)29-40
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Molecular Graphics and Modelling
StatePublished - 2013


  • Computer simulations
  • Molecular dynamics
  • Molecular modeling
  • Ubiquitin


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