UBA3 is a catalytic subunit of the dimeric UBA3-NAE1 E1 enzyme. E1 activates NEDD8 by first adenylating its C-terminal glycine residue with ATP, thereafter linking this residue to the side chain of the catalytic cysteine, yielding a NEDD8-UBA3 thioester and free AMP. E1 finally transfers NEDD8 to the catalytic cysteine of UBE2M. UBA3 down-regulates steroid receptor activity. UBA3 is necessary for cell cycle progression.The modification of proteins with ubiquitin is an important cellular mechanism for targeting abnormal or short-lived proteins for degradation. Ubiquitination involves at least three classes of enzymes: ubiquitin-activating enzymes, or E1s, ubiquitin-conjugating enzymes, or E2s, and ubiquitin-protein ligases, or E3s. This gene encodes a member of the E1 ubiquitin-activating enzyme family. The encoded enzyme associates with AppBp1, an amyloid beta precursor protein binding protein, to form a heterodimer, and then the enzyme complex activates NEDD8, a ubiquitin-like protein, which regulates cell division, signaling and embryogenesis. Multiple alternatively spliced transcript variants encoding distinct isoforms have been found for this gene.