The cohesin loader SCC2 contains a phd finger that is required for meiosis in land plants

Hongkuan Wang, Wanyue Xu, Yujin Sun, Qichao Lian, Cong Wang, Chaoyi Yu, Chengpeng He, Jun Wang, Hong Ma, Gregory P. Copenhaver, Yingxiang Wang

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13 Scopus citations


Cohesin, a multisubunit protein complex, is required for holding sister chromatids together during mitosis and meiosis. The recruitment of cohesin by the sister chromatid cohesion 2/4 (SCC2/4) complex has been extensively studied in Saccharomyces cerevisiae mitosis, but its role in mitosis and meiosis remains poorly understood in multicellular organisms, because complete loss-of-function of either gene causes embryonic lethality. Here, we identified a weak allele of Atscc2 (Atscc2-5) that has only minor defects in vegetative development but exhibits a significant reduction in fertility. Cytological analyses of Atscc2-5 reveal multiple meiotic phenotypes including defects in chromosomal axis formation, meiosis-specific cohesin loading, homolog pairing and synapsis, and AtSPO11-1-dependent double strand break repair. Surprisingly, even though AtSCC2 interacts with AtSCC4 in vitro and in vivo, meiosis-specific knockdown of AtSCC4 expression does not cause any meiotic defect, suggesting that the SCC2-SCC4 complex has divergent roles in mitosis and meiosis. SCC2 homologs from land plants have a unique plant homeodomain (PHD) motif not found in other species. We show that the AtSCC2 PHD domain can bind to the N terminus of histones and is required for meiosis but not mitosis. Taken together, our results provide evidence that unlike SCC2 in other organisms, SCC2 requires a functional PHD domain during meiosis in land plants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1008849
JournalPLoS genetics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Cancer Research


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