Cohesin interaction with centromeric minichromosomes shows a multi-complex rod-shaped structure

Alexandra Surcel, Douglas Koshland, Hong Ma, Robert T. Simpson

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18 Scopus citations


Cohesin is the protein complex responsible for maintaining sister chromatid cohesion. Cohesin interacts with centromeres and specific loci along chromosome arms known as Chromosome Attachment Regions (CARs). The cohesin holocomplex contains four subunits. Two of them, Smc1p (Structural maintenance of chromosome 1 protein) and Smc3p, are long coiled- coil proteins, with heterodimerize with each other at one end. They are joined together at the other end by a third subunit, Scc1p, which also binds to the fourth subunit, Scc3p. How cohesin interacts with chromosomes is not known, although several models have been proposed, in part on the basis of in vitro assembly of purified cohesin proteins. To be able to observe in vivo cohesin-chromatin interactions, we have modified a Minichromosome Affinity Purification (MAP) method to isolate a CAR-containing centrometric minichromosome attached to in vivo assembled cohesin. Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) analysis of these minichromosomes suggests that cohesin assumes a rod shape and interacts with replicated minichromosome at one end of that rod. Additionally, our data implies that more than one cohesin molecule interacts with each pair of replicated minichromosomes. These molecules seem to be packed into a single thick rod, suggesting that the Smc1p and Smc3p subunits may interact extensively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2453
JournalPloS one
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 11 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


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