Deconjugating enzymes (DCEs) are proteases that process ubiquitin or ubiquitin-like gene products, reverse the modification of proteins by a single ubiquitin or ubiquitin-like protein (UBL) and remodel polyubiquitin (or poly-UBL) chains on target proteins (Reyes-Turcu et al., 2009). The deubiquitylating - or deubiquitinating - enzymes (DUBs) represent the largest family of DCEs and regulate ubiquitin dependent signalling pathways. The activities of the DUBs include the generation of free ubiquitin from precursor molecules, the recycling of ubiquitin following substrate degradation to maintain cellular ubiquitin homeostasis and the removal of ubiquitin or ubiquitin-like proteins (UBL) modifications through chain editing to rescue proteins from proteasomal degradation or to influence cell signalling events (Komander et al., 2009). There are two main classes of DUB, cysteine proteases and metalloproteases. OTUD6A is a cysteine protease and is a member of the OTU (ovarian tumour) superfamily of proteins (Balakirev et al., 2003). Cloning of the human gene was first described by Kayagaki et al. (2007). OTU enzymes play important roles as negative-feedback regulators in NF-κB signalling, interferon signalling and in p97 (cdc48)-mediated processes although the cellular functions of most OTU enzymes remain to be discovered. Ovarian tumour family DUBs contain a papain-like catalytic core of ~180 amino acids. In addition to their catalytic domain, many OTU members have additional ubiquitin-binding domains (UBDs). At least 20 different UBD families have been described, and knowledge of linkage-specific UBDs have provided the means to understand the roles of different ubiquitin linkages in cells (Licchesi et al., 2012).
Balakirev MY, Tcherniuk SO, Jaquinod M and Chroboczek J (2003) Otubains: a new family of cysteine proteases in the ubiquitin pathway. EMBO Rep, 4, 517-522.
Kayagaki N, Phung Q, Chan S, Chaudhari R, Quan C, O'Rourke KM, et al. (2007) DUBA: a deubiquitinase that regulates type I interferon production. Science, 318, 1628-1632.
Komander D, Clague MJ and Urbe S (2009) Breaking the chains: structure and function of the deubiquitinases. Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol, 10, 550-563.
Licchesi JD, Mieszczanek J, Mevissen TE, Rutherford TJ, Akutsu M, Virdee S, et al. (2012) An ankyrin-repeat ubiquitin-binding domain determines TRABID's specificity for atypical ubiquitin chains. Nature Structural & Molecular Biology, 19, 62-71.
Reyes-Turcu FE, Ventii KH and Wilkinson KD (2009) Regulation and cellular roles of ubiquitin-specific deubiquitinating enzymes. Annual review of biochemistry, 78, 363-397.