Ubiquitination involves the attachment of ubiquitin (Ub) to lysine residues on substrate proteins or itself, which can result in protein monoubiquitination or polyubiquitination. Polyubiquitination through different lysines (seven) or the N-terminus of Ub can generate different protein-Ub structures. These include monoubiquitinated proteins, polyubiqutinated proteins with homotypic chains through a particular lysine on Ub or mixed polyubiquitin chains generated by polymerization through different Ub lysines. The ability of the ubiquitination pathway to generate different protein-Ub structures provides versatility of this pathway to target proteins to different fates. Protein ubiquitination is catalyzed by Ub-conjugating and Ub-ligase enzymes, with different combinations of these enzymes specifying the type of Ub modification on protein substrates. How Ub-conjugating and Ub-ligase enzymes generate this structural diversity is not clearly understood. In the current review, we discuss mechanisms utilized by the Ub-conjugating and Ub-ligase enzymes to generate structural diversity during protein ubiquitination, with a focus on recent mechanistic insights into protein monoubiquitination and polyubiquitination
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