Post-translational modification is a critical event in the dynamic regulation of protein stability, location, structure, function, activity and interaction with other proteins and as such plays an important role in organism complexity. Over the last 10 years, the extensive and critical role of one such protein modification by SUMO (small ubiquitin-related modifier) has become apparent. The focus of this mini-review will be on recent reports of a possible functional role for the SUMO pathway in the adaptive cellular response to metabolic challenge, such as oxygen deprivation (hypoxia). Here, we will briefly review the evolving evidence for this pathway in the regulation of a number of metabolic regulators and discuss a possible role for SUMOylation in the regulation of basic metabolic function.

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