The Role of the Host Ubiquitin System in Promoting Replication of Emergent Viruses

Karl M. Valerdi, Adam Hage, Sarah van Tol, Ricardo Rajsbaum, Maria I. Giraldo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Ubiquitination of proteins is a post-translational modification process with many different cellular functions, including protein stability, immune signaling, antiviral functions and virus replication. While ubiquitination of viral proteins can be used by the host as a defense mechanism by destroying the incoming pathogen, viruses have adapted to take advantage of this cellular process. The ubiquitin system can be hijacked by viruses to enhance various steps of the replication cycle and increase pathogenesis. Emerging viruses, including severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), flaviviruses like Zika and dengue, as well as highly pathogenic viruses like Ebola and Nipah, have the ability to directly use the ubiquitination process to enhance their viral-replication cycle, and evade immune responses. Some of these mechanisms are conserved among different virus families, especially early during virus entry, providing an opportunity to develop broad-spectrum antivirals. Here, we discuss the mechanisms used by emergent viruses to exploit the host ubiquitin system, with the main focus on the role of ubiquitin in enhancing virus replication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 26 2021


  • Ebola
  • Nipah
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Zika
  • antagonism of immune response
  • emergent viruses
  • pro-viral function
  • tripartite motif (TRIM) proteins
  • ubiquitin system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology

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