Not so slim anymore—evidence for the role of sumo in the regulation of lipid metabolism

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One of the basic building blocks of all life forms are lipids—biomolecules that dissolve in nonpolar organic solvents but not in water. Lipids have numerous structural, metabolic, and regulative functions in health and disease; thus, complex networks of enzymes coordinate the different compositions and functions of lipids with the physiology of the organism. One type of control on the activity of those enzymes is the conjugation of the Small Ubiquitin‐like Modifier (SUMO) that in recent years has been identified as a critical regulator of many biological processes. In this review, I summarize the current knowledge about the role of SUMO in the regulation of lipid metabolism. In particular, I discuss (i) the role of SUMO in lipid metabolism of fungi and invertebrates; (ii) the function of SUMO as a regulator of lipid metabolism in mammals with emphasis on the two most well‐characterized cases of SUMO regulation of lipid homeostasis. These include the effect of SUMO on the activity of two groups of master regulators of lipid metabolism— the Sterol Regulatory Element Binding Protein (SERBP) proteins and the family of nuclear receptors—and (iii) the role of SUMO as a regulator of lipid metabolism in arteriosclerosis, nonalcoholic fatty liver, cholestasis, and other lipid‐related human diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1154
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
Issue number8
StatePublished - 6 Aug 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This work was supported by the Israel Science Foundation (ISF) grant 1747/16 to A.S.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by the author. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Fatty acid metabolism
  • Lipid metabolism
  • Metabolism of cholesterol
  • Nuclear receptors
  • SREBPs
  • Steroid hormones
  • SUMO
  • SUMO proteases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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