Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation





First Advisor

Dr. Haining Zhu


SUMOylation and ubiquitination are important post-translational modifications. While ubiquitination is well known for targeting proteins for degradation, SUMOylation often regulates the intracellular localization of substrates. In the first project of this dissertation, we developed proteomic strategies to identify novel SUMOylated proteins in mammalian cells. In the second project, we investigated the regulation of protein ubiquitination in the NF-κB signaling pathway in the context of Paget’s disease of bone (PDB).

Identification of SUMOylated proteins has been a challenge because of low abundance of SUMOylation substrates. Here, we utilized a mass spectrometry (MS)-based proteomic approach to identify novel SUMOylated proteins in mammalian cells. Seventy-four unique proteins were commonly identified in the collection of four SUMO-1 plasmids, thus considered candidate SUMOylated proteins. Many of these proteins are associated with the nucleus. The results were validated by confirming SUMOylation of a novel substrate Drebrin and a well known substrate Ran-GAP1. Furthermore, the potential SUMOylation sites in Drebrin have been identified and confirmed using site-directed mutagenesis.

PDB is a disorder characterized by increased bone turnover containing hyperactive osteoclasts. Mutations in Sequestosome 1 (p62) are associated with 40% of familial PDB. P62 is a scaffold protein and plays a critical role in regulating ubiquitination of TRAF family signaling molecules and mediating the activation of NF-κB by RANK and TNFα ligands. P62 also plays a critical role in shuttling substrates for autophagic degradation. The objective of this project is to determine the effects of PDB-associated p62 mutants on NF-κB signaling and autophagy. We compared the effect of wild-type (WT) p62 and PDB mutations (A381V, M404V and P392L) on the TNFα-induced NF-κB signaling using an NF-κB luciferase assay. Our results show that these p62 mutations increased the NF-κB signaling. In addition, we found that the PDB mutations did not change the interaction between p62 and the autophagy marker protein LC3. In summary, the PDB mutations in p62 are likely gain-of-function mutations that can increase NF-κB signaling and potentially contribute to disease progression. Based on the results, we proposed a model to speculate the synergetic role of p62 PDB mutant on NF-κB signaling and autophagy.