The ubiquitin–proteasome field has matured, as is evident from the wide diversity of systems and mechanisms in which it participates and that are the subject of investigation, presented in the Ubiquitin–Proteasome System, Dynamics and Targeting meeting held in Barcelona, co-sponsored by the Biochemical Society, the Spanish Ministry of Science, the Spanish Research Council and the Catalan Academy of Sciences. Several of the aspects dealt with in the meeting are discussed in detail in the collection of review papers included in this issue of Biochemical Society Transactions. These papers reflect the importance of ubiquitin and ubiquitin-like modifiers as enormously versatile signalling entities that modulate and direct pathways in specific directions through modification-induced interactions. One conclusion from the meeting is that the field has become so rich and dense that, in order to be useful and informative, future meetings may need to focus on particular aspects of the ubiquitin–proteasome system.

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