PROSITE documentation PDOC51497
UMA domain profile


A key aspect of eukaryotic intracellular trafficking is the sorting of cell-surface proteins into multi-vesicular endosomes or bodies (MVBs), which eventually fuse with the lysosome, where they are degraded by lipases and peptidases. This is the primary mechanism for down-regulation of signaling via transmembrane receptors and removal of misfolded or defective membrane proteins. This process is also utilized by several viruses (e.g. HIV-1) to facilitate budding of their virions from the cell-membrane. Studies in animals and fungi have shown that it depends on an intricate series of interactions, which is initiated via ubiquitination (typically one or more mono-ubiquitinations) of the cytoplasmic tails of membrane proteins by specific E3 ligases. Ubiquitinated membrane proteins are then captured into endosomes by the ESCRT system and prevented from being recycled back to the plasma membrane via the retrograde trafficking system. The ESCRT system also folds the endosomal membranes into invaginations that are concentrated in these ubiquitinated targets and catalyzes their abscission into intra-luminal-vesicles inside the endosome. This largely seals the fate of these membrane proteins as targets for lysosomal degradation. The ESCRT system is comprised of 4 major protein complexes, ESCRT-0 to ESCRT-III, which are successively involved in the above-described steps [1].

ESCRT-I contains three subunits that are conserved between yeast and animals, namely the inactive E2-ligase protein TSG101/VPS23, VPS28 and VPS37. Additionally, both yeast and metazoan ESCRT-I contain a fourth subunit termed MVB12 ("multivesicular body sorting factor of 12 kD"); however, the MVB12 subunits from the two lineages do not show significant sequence similarity. The metazoan MVB12 proteins contain two distinct conserved domains that occur independently in various proteins. The C-terminal region of MVB12, which is shared with ubiquitin associated protein-1 (UBAP1), forms the UBAP1-MVB12 associated (UMA) domain. Human UBAP1 is implicated in nasopharyngeal carcinoma risk and fronto-temporal lobar degeneration. The UMA domain is also found in several other poorly characterized proteins, including at leat one orthologous group of proteins conserved in vertebrates prototyped be the human protein LOC390595 and another group conserved across Metazoa typified by human tcag7.903. The UMA domain found in MVB12 and UBAP1 defines a novel adaptor that might recruit diverse targets to ESCRT-I. The different UMA proteins might function as alternative as MVB12-like subunit that recruit different targets via their specific intercation modules (such as MABP (see <PDOC51498>) or UBA (see <PDOC50030>) or the specific extensions) to the ESCRT-I complex [1].

The UMA domain contains a conserved proline followed by a hydrophobic residue in the N-terminus and a nearly absolutely conserved glutamate at the C-terminus. It is predicted to adopt an α+β fold [1].

The profile we developed covers the entire UMA domain.

Last update:

June 2010 / First entry.


Technical section

PROSITE method (with tools and information) covered by this documentation:

UMA, PS51497; UMA domain profile  (MATRIX)


1Authorsde Souza R.F. Aravind L.
TitleUMA and MABP domains throw light on receptor endocytosis and selection of endosomal cargoes.
SourceBioinformatics 0:0-0(2010).
PubMed ID20448139

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