06 May 2022
by Jason Banda, Leah Band, Ari Sadanandom

We don’t talk (enough) about SUMO

Focus on the Cell satellite meeting with Jason Banda, Leah Band and Ari Sadanandom

Only a few more months till the start of the 2022 SEB Annual Conference. A great time to fill you in about one of the Satellite meetings being hosted before the Main event. As organisers of the Satellite meeting, SUMO modification in cell signalling, we would like to welcome you to this exciting event that brings together plant and animal scientists to share their latest findings on one of the major protein modification systems in eukaryotes.

Protein modification by the Small Ubiquitin-like Modifier (SUMO) is a key Post-translational Modification (PTM) that acts at the core of biological systems in plants, animals and other eukaryotes.  Despite the importance of this PTM in many cellular processes, little is known about the rules that govern their specificity i.e why a protein is chosen to be modified by SUMO?

SUMOylation of a substrate can alter activity, stability, cellular localisation, and block or facilitate protein interaction. However, the effect of SUMOylation on a substrate cannot be generalised as SUMO modification could both enhance or suppress protein activity depending on the individual substrate and site of modification. A plethora of proteins undergo SUMO modification many of which are transcription factors orchestrating a multitude of downstream genes and cellular responses. In humans many diseases including, Diabetes and Cancer involve miss-regulation of SUMO modification on target proteins. In plants many components of the hormonal pathways, light signalling and plant immunity are targets for SUMO modification. Unlike phosphorylation and ubiquitination where hundreds of genes are involved, only a small number of genes (33-50) in eukaryotes control SUMOylation. This creates the perfect model to improve our mechanistical and functional understanding of the rules of PTMs. The mechanistical insight can then be utilized to discover how SUMO transduces developmental and environmental signals into downstream genetic and physiological changes, which will enable researchers across multiple disciplines to develop new therapeutics against human and animal diseases, while at the same time enabling others to develop climate resilient crops.

This 2-day SEB satellite meeting will highlight the established role of SUMO in a wide range of cellular processes in eukaryotes (including yeast, plants and animals) as well as identifying new and exciting knowledge gaps that the community will aim to tackle in the future. The roles of SUMO modification in both developmental processes, and biotic and abiotic stress responses will be covered. Furthermore, we want to focus on emerging methods and technologies that will push the boundaries of our knowledge on PTMs. With these ambitious aims, the meeting will bring together both established and early career researchers working in a wide range of molecular pathways and model systems. Each day will end with a panel discussion hosted by the chair of the session to further explore how knowledge and novel techniques from different systems can be used within the SUMO community.  Furthermore, there will be a poster session to allow everyone attending to share their exciting recent findings and discuss them with other researchers in the field. Whether you are an established SUMO researcher or just want to learn more about this modification, the satellite meeting will create a perfect opportunity for PTM enthusiasts from a variety of model species, to come together and share knowledge, experiences and resources.

The list of invited speakers can be found at the meeting website:


We welcome a wide variety of speakers and poster presenters during this event to create an inclusive and informal atmosphere for sharing ideas.

Register for our upcoming event in Montpellier to know more about SUMO modifications and cell signalling.


We look forward to seeing you there!
Jason Banda, Leah Band and Ari Sadanandom