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Open Access Research article

Proteins with two SUMO-like domains in chromatin-associated complexes: The RENi (Rad60-Esc2-NIP45) family

Maria Novatchkova1*, Andreas Bachmair3, Birgit Eisenhaber2 and Frank Eisenhaber2

Author Affiliations

1 Gregor Mendel-Institut GMI, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna Biocenter, A-1030 Vienna, Austria

2 Research Institute of Molecular Pathology, Dr. Bohr-Gasse 7, A-1030 Vienna, Austria

3 Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research, Carl-von-Linné-Weg 10, D-50829 Cologne, Germany

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BMC Bioinformatics 2005, 6:22  doi:10.1186/1471-2105-6-22

Published: 7 February 2005



Post-translational modification by Small Ubiquitin-like Modifiers (SUMO) has been implicated in protein targeting, in the maintenance of genomic integrity and in transcriptional control. But the specific molecular effects of SUMO modification on many target proteins remain to be elucidated. Recent findings point at the importance of SUMO-mediated histone NAD-dependent deacetylase (HDAC) recruitment in transcriptional regulation.


We describe the RENi family of SUMO-like domain proteins (SDP) with the unique feature of typically containing two carboxy-terminal SUMO-like domains. Using sequence analytic evidence, we collect family members from animals, fungi and plants, most prominent being yeast

sc2 and mouse
P45 webcite. Different proteins of the novel family are known to interact directly with histone NAD-dependent deacetylases (HDACs), structural maintenance of chromosomes (SMC) proteins, and transcription factors. In particular, the highly non-trivial designation of the first of the two successive SUMO-domains in non-plant RENi provides a rationale for previously published functionally impaired mutant variants.


Till now, SUMO-like proteins have been studied exclusively in the context of their covalent conjugation to target proteins. Here, we present the exciting possibility that SUMO domain proteins, similarly to ubiquitin modifiers, have also evolved in a second line – namely as multi-domain proteins that are non-covalently attached to their target proteins. We suggest that the SUMO stable fusion proteins of the RENi family, which we introduce in this work, might mimic SUMO and share its interaction motifs (in analogy to the way that ubiquitin-like domains mimic ubiquitin). This presumption is supported by parallels in the spectrum of modified or bound proteins e.g. transcription factors and chromatin-associated proteins and in the recruitment of HDAC-activity.