The homologous to the E6-assosiated protein carboxyl terminus (HECT) domain E3 ubiquitin ligase Smurf1 is the first E3 ligase to be implicated in regulating bone cell function. The involvement of Smurf1 in multiple signaling pathways and pathological conditions is presently an area of extensive scientific interest. This review highlights recent works exploring Smurf-regulated biological processes in bone cells and highlights recent discoveries surrounding the regulatory mechanisms modulating its catalytic activity and substrate recognition capability. Moreover, we discuss the relevance of targeting the HECT E3s through the development of small-molecule inhibitors as an anticancer therapeutic strategy. J. Cell. Biochem. 110: 554–563, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.