DNA damage signaling pathways are initiated in response to chemical reagents and radiation damage, as well as in response to hypoxia. It is implicated that structural maintenance of chromosomes 1 (SMC1) is not only a component of the cohesion complex but also facilitates the activation of DNA damage checkpoint proteins. Here, we studied the mechanism of DNA damage checkpoint activated by ATR–SMC1 pathway when cells are treated with desferrioxamine (DFO), a hypoxia-mimetic reagent. We show that DFO treatment induces phosphorylation of SMC1 at Ser966, NBS1 at Ser343, Chk1 at Ser317, Chk2 at Thr68, and p53 at Ser15. Among these sites, phosphorylation of SMC1, NBS1, and Chk1 by DFO are mediated by ATR as it is greatly reduced in both ATR-deficient human fibroblasts and HCT116 human colon cancer cells in which ATR is heterozygously mutated, whereas these proteins are phosphorylated in cells deficient for ATM and DNA-PKcs. DFO-induced apoptosis is decreased in ATR-mutant HCT116 cells, although p53 is normally activated in those cells. Expression of SMC1 S966A in which Ser966 is substituted to Ala attenuates apoptosis and phosphorylation of Chk1 at Ser317 after DFO treatment, although levels of HIF1α are not significantly changed. These results suggest that DFO induces apoptosis through the ATR–SMC1 arm of the pathway.
ATR; SMC1; Hypoxia
Cohesin, a hetero-tetrameric complex of SMC1, SMC3, Rad21 and Scc3, associates with chromatin after mitosis and holds sister chromatids together following DNA replication. Following DNA damage, cohesin accumulates at and promotes the repair of DNA double-strand breaks. In addition, phosphorylation of the SMC1/3 subunits contributes to DNA damage-induced cell cycle checkpoint regulation. The aim of this study was to determine the regulation and consequences of SMC1/3 phosphorylation as part of the cohesin complex. We show here that the ATM-dependent phosphorylation of SMC1 and SMC3 is mediated by H2AX, 53BP1 and MDC1. Depletion of RAD21 abolishes these phosphorylations, indicating that only the fully assembled complex is phosphorylated. Comparison of wild type SMC1 and SMC1S966A in fluorescence recovery after photo-bleaching experiments shows that phosphorylation of SMC1 is required for an increased mobility after DNA damage in G2-phase cells, suggesting that ATM-dependent phosphorylation facilitates mobilization of the cohesin complex after DNA damage.
ATM; SMC1; SMC3; Cohesin; Ionizing radiation; DNA repair
Ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM) and DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PK) play a crucial role in the initial stages of cell response, when cells are exposed to DNA insult such as ionizing radiation (IR) and chemical agents. We previously demonstrated that ATM requires BAAT1 for its activation in response to IR. In the present study, BAAT1 was found to bind to the DNA-PK catalytic subunit (DNA-PKcs) and SMC1. Biochemical analysis indicated that several regions of BAAT1 were responsible for the interaction with these proteins, and their binding affinity was altered after treatment with the IR mimetic, neocarzinostatin (NCS). Phosphorylation of the DNA-PKcs at Ser2056 and SMC1 at Ser966 was induced by NCS, while phosphorylation was reduced when BAAT1 was depleted by siRNA. These results indicate that BAAT1 globally regulates DNA damage signaling during the early stages of apoptosis.
BAAT1; DNA-dependent protein kinase catalytic subunit; DNA damage
The structural maintenance of chromosomes (Smc) proteins regulate nearly all aspects of chromosome biology and are critical for genomic stability. In eukaryotes, six Smc proteins form three heterodimers--Smc1/3, Smc2/4, and Smc5/6--which together with non-Smc proteins form cohesin, condensin, and the Smc5/6 complex, respectively. Cohesin is required for proper chromosome segregation. It establishes and maintains sister-chromatid cohesion until all sister chromatids achieve bipolar attachment to the mitotic spindle. Condensin mediates chromosome condensation during mitosis. The Smc5/6 complex has multiple roles in DNA repair. In addition to their major functions in chromosome cohesion and condensation, cohesin and condensin also participate in the cellular DNA damage response. Here we review recent progress on the functions of all three Smc complexes in DNA repair and their cell cycle regulation by posttranslational modifications, such as acetylation, phosphorylation, and sumoylation. An in-depth understanding of the mechanisms by which these complexes promote DNA repair and genomic stability may help us to uncover the molecular basis of genomic instability in human cancers and devise ways that exploit this instability to treat cancers.
Cohesin; Condensin; Smc5; Smc6; homologous recombination; DNA repair; DNA damage checkpoint; rDNA; SUMO
No rapid reliable method exists for identifying ataxia-telangiectasia (A-T) homozygotes or heterozygotes. Heterozygotes are at an increased risk of cancer and are more sensitive to the effects of ionizing radiation (IR) than the general population. We report a rapid flow cytometry (FC)-based ataxia-telangiectasia mutated (ATM) kinase assay that measures ATM-dependent phosphorylation of structural maintenance of chromosomes 1 (SMC1) following DNA damage (FC-pSMC1 assay).
After optimizing conditions with lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs), we studied peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) isolated from 16 healthy donors (unknowns), 10 obligate A-T heterozygotes, and 6 unrelated A-T patients. One hour after DNA damage (by either IR or bleomycin), the cells were fixed and incubated with a primary antibody to SMC1pSer966. We analyzed the stained cells by FC to determine the difference in geometric mean fluorescence intensity (ΔGMFI) of untreated and treated cells; this difference was expressed as a percentage of daily experimental controls.
The FC-pSMC1 assay reliably distinguished ATM heterozygotes and homozygotes from controls. Average ΔGMFI percentages (SD) of daily controls were, for unknowns, 106.1 (37.6); for A-T heterozygotes, 37.0 (18.7); and for A-T homozygotes; −8.73 (16.2). Values for heterozygotes and homozygotes were significantly different from those of controls (P < 0.0001).
The FC-pSMC1 assay shortens the turnaround time for diagnosing A-T homozygotes from approximately 3 months to approximately 3 h. It also identifies A-T heterozygotes and can be used for pre-natal counseling or for screening individuals in large study cohorts for potential ATM heterozygosity, which can then be confirmed by sequencing.
Cohesin complexes mediate sister chromatid cohesion. Cohesin also becomes enriched at DNA double-strand break sites and facilitates recombinational DNA repair. Here we report that cohesin is essential for the DNA damage induced G2/M checkpoint. In contrast to cohesin’s role in DNA repair, the checkpoint function of cohesin is independent of its ability to mediate cohesion. After RNAi-mediated depletion of cohesin, cells fail to properly activate the checkpoint kinase Chk2 and have defects in recruiting the mediator protein 53BP1 to DNA damage sites. Previous work has shown that phosphorylation of the cohesin subunits Smc1 and Smc3 is required for the intra-S checkpoint, but Smc1/Smc3 are also subunits of a distinct recombination complex, RC-1. It was, therefore, unknown if Smc1/Smc3 function in the intra-S checkpoint as part of cohesin. We show that Smc1/3 are phosphorylated as part of cohesin and that cohesin is required for the intra-S checkpoint. We propose that accumulation of cohesin at DNA break sites is not only needed to mediate DNA repair but also facilitates the recruitment of checkpoint proteins, which activate the intra-S and G2/M checkpoints.
Cell Cycle Proteins; genetics; metabolism; Cell Division; Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone; genetics; metabolism; DNA Damage; physiology; G2 Phase; Genes, cdc; Hela Cells; Humans; Nuclear Proteins; genetics; metabolism; Phosphorylation; Protein Subunits; genetics; metabolism; Sister Chromatid Exchange; Cohesin; chromatin; DNA double-strand break; DNA damage checkpoint; 53BP1; Chk2
A positively charged channel within the Smc1/Smc3 hinge required for sister chromatid cohesion
DNA has been suggested to enter ring-shaped cohesin complexes via a structural maintenance of chromosome (SMC) protein dimerization interface. Structure-based analyses now show that a positively charged channel within this hinge region, while being dispensable for SMC dimerization and cohesin loading, is essential for cohesin acetylation and establishment of sister chromatid cohesin during S phase.
Cohesin's structural maintenance of chromosome 1 (Smc1) and Smc3 are rod-shaped proteins with 50-nm long intra-molecular coiled-coil arms with a heterodimerization domain at one end and an ABC-like nucleotide-binding domain (NBD) at the other. Heterodimerization creates V-shaped molecules with a hinge at their centre. Inter-connection of NBDs by Scc1 creates a tripartite ring within which, it is proposed, sister DNAs are entrapped. To investigate whether cohesin's hinge functions as a possible DNA entry gate, we solved the crystal structure of the hinge from Mus musculus, which like its bacterial counterpart is characterized by a pseudo symmetric heterodimeric torus containing a small channel that is positively charged. Mutations in yeast Smc1 and Smc3 that together neutralize the channel's charge have little effect on dimerization or association with chromosomes, but are nevertheless lethal. Our finding that neutralization reduces acetylation of Smc3, which normally occurs during replication and is essential for cohesion, suggests that the positively charged channel is involved in a major conformational change during S phase.
cohesin; hinge; Smc1; Smc3; structure
Cohesin subunit SMC1β is specific and essential for meiosis. Previous studies showed functions of SMC1β in determining the axis-loop structure of synaptonemal complexes (SCs), in providing sister chromatid cohesion (SCC) in metaphase I and thereafter, in protecting telomere structure, and in synapsis. However, several central questions remained unanswered and concern roles of SMC1β in SCC and synapsis and processes related to these two processes. Here we show that SMC1β substantially supports prophase I SCC at centromeres but not along chromosome arms. Arm cohesion and some of centromeric cohesion in prophase I are provided by non-phosphorylated SMC1α. Besides supporting synapsis of autosomes, SMC1β is also required for synapsis and silencing of sex chromosomes. In absence of SMC1β, the silencing factor γH2AX remains associated with asynapsed autosomes and fails to localize to sex chromosomes. Microarray expression studies revealed up-regulated sex chromosome genes and many down-regulated autosomal genes. SMC1β is further required for non-homologous chromosome associations observed in absence of SPO11 and thus of programmed double-strand breaks. These breaks are properly generated in Smc1β−/− spermatocytes, but their repair is delayed on asynapsed chromosomes. SMC1α alone cannot support non-homologous associations. Together with previous knowledge, three main functions of SMC1β have emerged, which have multiple consequences for spermatocyte biology: generation of the loop-axis architecture of SCs, homologous and non-homologous synapsis, and SCC starting in early prophase I.
The generation of mammalian gametes through meiosis comprises two subsequent cell divisions. The first division, meiosis I, features highly specific chromosome structures, and behavior, and requires distinct sets of chromosome-associated proteins. Cohesin proteins, of which some are meiosis-specific, are essential for meiosis, but their particular roles in meiosis are incompletely understood. We show here that SMC1β, a meiosis-specific cohesin, serves key functions already in prophase of meiosis I: SMC1β contributes to keeping sister chromatids in cohesion at their centromeres and supports synapsis of the four sister chromatids present in these cells. SMC1β is required for the synapsis of the X and Y sex chromosomes. The failure of autosomes to properly synapse in absence of SMC1β causes extensive alterations in gene expression. This leads to expression of sex chromosome-linked genes, which are lethal at this stage, explaining the death of spermatocytes in mid-prophase I. Together with the analyses of other cohesin proteins and of phosphorylated forms of SMC3 and SMC1α, this paper describes hitherto undescribed properties and functions of meiotic cohesin in sister chromatid cohesion and synapsis.
The structural maintenance of chromosomes (SMC) family of proteins play key roles in the organization, packaging, and repair of chromosomes. Cohesin (Smc1+3) holds replicated sister chromatids together until mitosis, condensin (Smc2+4) acts in chromosome condensation, and Smc5+6 performs currently enigmatic roles in DNA repair and chromatin structure. The SMC heterodimers must associate with non-SMC subunits to perform their functions. Using both biochemical and genetic methods, we have isolated a novel subunit of the Smc5+6 complex, Nse3. Nse3 is an essential nuclear protein that is required for normal mitotic chromosome segregation and cellular resistance to a number of genotoxic agents. Epistasis with Rhp51 (Rad51) suggests that like Smc5+6, Nse3 functions in the homologous recombination based repair of DNA damage. We previously identified two non-SMC subunits of Smc5+6 called Nse1 and Nse2. Analysis of nse1-1, nse2-1, and nse3-1 mutants demonstrates that they are crucial for meiosis. The Nse1 mutant displays meiotic DNA segregation and homologous recombination defects. Spore viability is reduced by nse2-1 and nse3-1, without affecting interhomolog recombination. Finally, genetic interactions shared by the nse mutants suggest that the Smc5+6 complex is important for replication fork stability.
Cornelia de Lange syndrome (CdLS) is a dominantly inherited congenital malformation disorder caused by mutations in the cohesin-loading protein NIPBL1,2 for nearly 60% of individuals with classical CdLS3-5 and in the core cohesin components SMC1A (~5%) and SMC3 (<1%) for a smaller fraction of probands6,7. In humans, the multi-subunit complex cohesin is comprised of SMC1, SMC3, RAD21 and a STAG protein to form a ring structure proposed to encircle sister chromatids to mediate sister chromatid cohesion (SCC)8 as well as play key roles in gene regulation9. SMC3 is acetylated during S-phase to establish cohesiveness of chromatin-loaded cohesin10-13 and in yeast, HOS1, a class I histone deacetylase, deacetylates SMC3 during anaphase14-16. Here we report the identification of HDAC8 as the vertebrate SMC3 deacetylase as well as loss-of-function HDAC8 mutations in six CdLS probands. Loss of HDAC8 activity results in increased SMC3 acetylation (SMC3-ac) and inefficient dissolution of the “used” cohesin complex released from chromatin in both prophase and anaphase. While SMC3 with retained acetylation is loaded onto chromatin, ChIP-Seq analysis demonstrates decreased occupancy of cohesin localization sites that results in a consistent pattern of altered transcription seen in CdLS cell lines with either NIPBL or HDAC8 mutations.
Cohesin is a macromolecular complex that links sister chromatids together at the metaphase plate during mitosis. The links are formed during DNA replication and destroyed during the metaphase-to-anaphase transition. In budding yeast, the 14S cohesin complex comprises at least two classes of SMC (structural maintenance of chromosomes) proteins - Smc1 and Smc3 - and two SCC (sister-chromatid cohesion) proteins - Scc1 and Scc3. The exact function of these proteins is unknown.
Searches of protein sequence databases have revealed new homologs of cohesin proteins. In mouse, Mmip1 (Mad member interacting protein 1) and Smc3 share 99% sequence identity and are products of the same gene. A phylogenetic tree of SMC homologs reveals five families: Smc1, Smc2, Smc3, Smc4 and an ancestral family that includes the sequences from the Archaea and Eubacteria. This ancestral family also includes sequences from eukaryotes. A cohesion interaction network, comprising 17 proteins, has been constructed using two proteomic databases. Genes encoding six proteins in the cohesion network share a common upstream region that includes the MluI cell-cycle box (MCB) element. Pairs of the proteins in this network share common sequence motifs that could represent common structural features such as binding sites. Scc2 shares a motif with Chk1 (kinase checkpoint protein), that comprises part of the serine/threonine protein kinase motif, including the active-site residue.
We have combined genomic and proteomic data into a comprehensive network of information to reach a better understanding of the function of the cohesin complex. We have identified new SMC homologs, created a new SMC phylogeny and identified shared DNA and protein motifs. The potential for Scc2 to function as a kinase - a hypothesis that needs to be verified experimentally - could provide further evidence for the regulation of sister-chromatid cohesion by phosphorylation mechanisms, which are currently poorly understood.
Structural maintenance of chromosomes (SMC) proteins play central roles in higher-order chromosome dynamics from bacteria to humans. In eukaryotes, two different SMC protein complexes, condensin and cohesin, regulate chromosome condensation and sister chromatid cohesion, respectively. Each of the complexes consists of a heterodimeric pair of SMC subunits and two or three non-SMC subunits. Previous studies have shown that a bacterial SMC homodimer has a symmetrical structure in which two long coiled-coil arms are connected by a flexible hinge. A catalytic domain with DNA- and ATP-binding activities is located at the distal end of each arm. We report here the visualization of vertebrate condensin and cohesin by electron microscopy. Both complexes display the two-armed structure characteristic of SMC proteins, but their conformations are remarkably different. The hinge of condensin is closed and the coiled-coil arms are placed close together. In contrast, the hinge of cohesin is wide open and the coiled-coils are spread apart from each other. The non-SMC subunits of both condensin and cohesin form a globular complex bound to the catalytic domains of the SMC heterodimers. We propose that the “closed” conformation of condensin and the “open” conformation of cohesin are important structural properties that contribute to their specialized biochemical and physiological functions.
ABC ATPases; chromosome condensation; coiled-coil; sister chromatid cohesion; structural maintenance of chromosomes
Structural maintenance of chromosomes (SMC) proteins fulfill pivotal roles in chromosome dynamics. In yeast, the SMC1-SMC3 heterodimer is required for meiotic sister chromatid cohesion and DNA recombination. Little is known, however, about mammalian SMC proteins in meiotic cells. We have identified a novel SMC protein (SMC1β), which—except for a unique, basic, DNA binding C-terminal motif—is highly homologous to SMC1 (which may now be called SMC1α) and is not present in the yeast genome. SMC1β is specifically expressed in testes and coimmunoprecipitates with SMC3 from testis nuclear extracts, but not from a variety of somatic cells. This establishes for mammalian cells the concept of cell-type- and tissue-specific SMC protein isoforms. Analysis of testis sections and chromosome spreads of various stages of meiosis revealed localization of SMC1β along the axial elements of synaptonemal complexes in prophase I. Most SMC1β dissociates from the chromosome arms in late-pachytene-diplotene cells. However, SMC1β, but not SMC1α, remains chromatin associated at the centromeres up to metaphase II. Thus, SMC1β and not SMC1α is likely involved in maintaining cohesion between sister centromeres until anaphase II.
Defining the mechanisms of chromosomal cohesion and dissolution of the cohesin complex from chromatids is important for understanding the chromosomal missegregation seen in many tumor cells. Here we report the identification of a novel cohesin-resolving protease and describe its role in chromosomal segregation. Sister chromatids are held together by cohesin, a multiprotein ring-like complex comprised of Rad21, Smc1, Smc3, and SA2 (or SA1). Cohesin is known to be removed from vertebrate chromosomes by two distinct mechanisms, namely, the prophase and anaphase pathways. First, PLK1-mediated phosphorylation of SA2 in prophase leads to release of cohesin from chromosome arms, leaving behind centromeric cohesins that continue to hold the sisters together. Then, at the onset of anaphase, activated separase cleaves the centromeric cohesin Rad21, thereby opening the cohesin ring and allowing the sister chromatids to separate. We report here that the calcium-dependent cysteine endopeptidase calpain-1 is a Rad21 peptidase and normally localizes to the interphase nuclei and chromatin. Calpain-1 cleaves Rad21 at L192, in a calcium-dependent manner. We further show that Rad21 cleavage by calpain-1 promotes separation of chromosome arms, which coincides with a calcium-induced partial loss of cohesin at several chromosomal loci. Engineered cleavage of Rad21 at the calpain-cleavable site without activation of calpain-1 can lead to a loss of sister chromatid cohesion. Collectively, our work reveals a novel function of calpain-1 and describes an additional pathway for sister chromatid separation in humans.
SMC1A (structural maintenance of chromosomes 1A), which encodes a structural subunit of the cohesin protein complex, is necessary for the process of sister chromatid cohesion during the cell cycle. Mutation and deregulation of SMC1A are highly relevant to diverse human diseases, including Cornelia de Lange syndrome and malignant carcinomas. In order to further investigate the role of SMC1A in the oncogenesis of lung cancer, SMC1A-specific short hairpin RNA (shRNA)-expressing lentivirus (Lv-shSMC1A) was constructed and used to infect A549 and H1299 cells. SMC1A mRNA and protein expression levels were downregulated in A549 and H1299 cells as demonstrated by real-time PCR and western blot assays. We found that SMC1A inhibition resulted in significantly impaired proliferation and colony formation as well as reduced invasiveness of tumor cells. Notably, Lv-shSMC1A-infected cancer cells exhibited a greater proportion of cells in the G0/G1 phase, but a lower proportion of S phase cells, compared to the parent or Lv-shCon infected cancer cells. Moreover, a greater proportion of sub-G1 apoptotic cells was observed in Lv-shSMC1A-infected cells. These results suggest that SMC1A is a novel proliferation regulator that promotes the growth of lung cancer cells, and that down-regulation of SMC1A expression induces growth suppression of A549 and H1299 cells via G1/S cell cycle phase arrest and apoptosis pathways. Therefore, SMC1A may serve as a new molecular target for lung cancer therapy.
SMC1A; proliferation; shRNA; lung cancer
In eukaryotes, three pairs of structural-maintenance-of-chromosome (SMC) proteins are found in conserved multisubunit protein complexes required for chromosomal organization. Cohesin, the Smc1/3 complex, mediates sister chromatid cohesion while two condensin complexes containing Smc2/4 facilitate chromosome condensation. Smc5/6 scaffolds an essential complex required for homologous recombination repair. We have examined the response of smc6 mutants to the inhibition of DNA replication. We define homologous recombination-dependent and -independent functions for Smc6 during replication inhibition and provide evidence for a Rad60-independent function within S phase, in addition to a Rad60-dependent function following S phase. Both genetic and physical data show that when forks collapse (i.e., are not stabilized by the Cds1Chk2 checkpoint), Smc6 is required for the effective repair of resulting lesions but not for the recruitment of recombination proteins. We further demonstrate that when the Rad60-dependent, post-S-phase Smc6 function is compromised, the resulting recombination-dependent DNA intermediates that accumulate following release from replication arrest are not recognized by the G2/M checkpoint.
The cohesin complex that mediates sister chromatid cohesion contains three core subunits: Smc1, Smc3, and Scc1. Heterotypic interactions between Smc1 and Smc3 dimerization domains create stable V-shaped Smc1/Smc3 heterodimers with a hinge at the center and nucleotide-binding domains (NBDs) at the ends of each arm. Interconnection of each NBD through their association with the N- and C-terminal domains of Scc1 creates a tripartite ring, within which sister DNAs are thought to be entrapped (the ring model). Crystal structures show that the Smc1/Smc3 hinge has a toroidal shape, with independent “north” and “south” interaction surfaces on an axis of pseudosymmetry. The ring model predicts that sister chromatid cohesion would be lost by transient hinge opening.
We find that mutations within either interface weaken heterodimerization of isolated half hinges in vitro but do not greatly compromise formation of cohesin rings in vivo. They do, however, reduce the residence time of cohesin on chromosomes and cause lethal defects in sister chromatid cohesion. This demonstrates that mere formation of rings is insufficient for cohesin function. Stable cohesion requires cohesin rings that cannot easily open.
Either the north or south hinge interaction surface is sufficient for the assembly of V-shaped Smc1/Smc3 heterodimers in vivo. Any tendency of Smc proteins with weakened hinges to dissociate will be suppressed by interconnection of their NBDs by Scc1. We suggest that transient hinge dissociation caused by the mutations described here is incompatible with stable sister chromatid cohesion because it permits chromatin fibers to escape from cohesin rings.
► Unstable Smc1/3 hinge dimerization reduces the residence time of cohesin on chromatin
The SMC1/SMC3 heterodimer acts in sister chromatid cohesion, and recent data indicate a function in DNA double-strand break repair (DSBR). Since this role of SMC proteins has remained largely elusive, we explored interactions between SMC1 and the homologous recombination (HR) or non-homologous end-joining (NHEJ) pathways for DSBR in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Analysis of conditional single- and double mutants of smc1-2 with rad52Δ, rad54Δ, rad50Δ or dnl4Δ illustrates a significant contribution of SMC1 to the overall capacity of cells to repair DSBs. smc1 but not smc2 mutants show increased hypersensitivity of HR mutants to ionizing irradiation and to the DNA crosslinking agent cis-platin. Haploid, but not diploid smc1-2 mutants were severely affected in repairing multiple genomic DNA breaks, suggesting a selective role of SMC1 in sister chromatid recombination. smc1-2 mutants were also 15-fold less efficient and highly error-prone in plasmid end-joining through the NHEJ pathway. Strikingly, inactivation of RAD52 or RAD54 fully rescued efficiency and accuracy of NHEJ in the smc1 background. Therefore, we propose coordination of HR and NHEJ processes by Smc1p through interaction with the RAD52 pathway.
Telomeres fail to attach to the nuclear envelope and lose structural integrity in cells lacking SMC1β.
Meiosis-specific mammalian cohesin SMC1β is required for complete sister chromatid cohesion and proper axes/loop structure of axial elements (AEs) and synaptonemal complexes (SCs). During prophase I, telomeres attach to the nuclear envelope (NE), but in Smc1β−/− meiocytes, one fifth of their telomeres fail to attach. This study reveals that SMC1β serves a specific role at telomeres, which is independent of its role in determining AE/SC length and loop extension. SMC1β is necessary to prevent telomere shortening, and SMC3, present in all known cohesin complexes, properly localizes to telomeres only if SMC1β is present. Very prominently, telomeres in Smc1β−/− spermatocytes and oocytes loose their structural integrity and suffer a range of abnormalities. These include disconnection from SCs and formation of large telomeric protein–DNA extensions, extended telomere bridges between SCs, ring-like chromosomes, intrachromosomal telomeric repeats, and a reduction of SUN1 foci in the NE. We suggest that a telomere structure protected from DNA rearrangements depends on SMC1β.
The cohesin complex is responsible for the accurate separation of sister chromatids into two daughter cells. Several models for the cohesin complex have been proposed, but the one-ring embrace model currently predominates the field. However, the static configuration of the embrace model is not flexible enough for cohesins to perform their functions during DNA replication, transcription, and DNA repair. We used coimmunoprecipitation, a protein fragment complement assay, and a yeast two-hybrid assay to analyze the protein–protein interactions among cohesin subunits. The results show that three of the four human cohesin core subunits (Smc1, Smc3, and Rad21) interact with themselves in an Scc3 (SA1/SA2)-dependent manner. These data support a two-ring handcuff model for the cohesin complex, which is flexible enough to establish and maintain sister chromatid cohesion as well as ensure the fidelity of chromosome segregation in higher eukaryotes.
During mitosis, spindle microtubule force is balanced by the combined activities of the cohesin and condensin SMC complexes and intramolecular pericentric chromatin loops.
Sister chromatid cohesion provides the mechanistic basis, together with spindle microtubules, for generating tension between bioriented chromosomes in metaphase. Pericentric chromatin forms an intramolecular loop that protrudes bidirectionally from the sister chromatid axis. The centromere lies on the surface of the chromosome at the apex of each loop. The cohesin and condensin structural maintenance of chromosomes (SMC) protein complexes are concentrated within the pericentric chromatin, but whether they contribute to tension-generating mechanisms is not known. To understand how pericentric chromatin is packaged and resists tension, we map the position of cohesin (SMC3), condensin (SMC4), and pericentric LacO arrays within the spindle. Condensin lies proximal to the spindle axis and is responsible for axial compaction of pericentric chromatin. Cohesin is radially displaced from the spindle axis and confines pericentric chromatin. Pericentric cohesin and condensin contribute to spindle length regulation and dynamics in metaphase. Together with the intramolecular centromere loop, these SMC complexes constitute a molecular spring that balances spindle microtubule force in metaphase.
The cohesin complex is responsible for the fidelity of chromosomal segregation during mitosis. It consists of four core subunits, namely Rad21/Mcd1/Scc1, Smc1, Smc3, and one of the yeast Scc3 orthologs SA1 or SA2. Sister chromatid cohesion is generated during DNA replication and maintained until the onset of anaphase. Among the many proposed models of the cohesin complex, the 'core' cohesin subunits Smc1, Smc3, and Rad21 are almost universally displayed as tripartite ring. However, other than its supportive role in the cohesin ring, little is known about the fourth core subunit SA1/SA2. To gain deeper insight into the function of SA1/SA2 in the cohesin complex, we have mapped the interactive regions of SA2 and Rad21 in vitro and ex vivo. Whereas SA2 interacts with Rad21 through a broad region (301–750 aa), Rad21 binds to SA proteins through two SA-binding motifs on Rad21, namely N-terminal (NT) and middle part (MP) SA-binding motif, located at 60–81 aa of the N-terminus and 383–392 aa of the MP of Rad21, respectively. The MP SA-binding motif is a 10 amino acid, α-helical motif. Deletion of these 10 amino acids or mutation of three conserved amino acids (L385, F389, and T390) in this α-helical motif significantly hinders Rad21 from physically interacting with SA1/2. Besides the MP SA-binding motif, the NT SA-binding motif is also important for SA1/2 interaction. Although mutations on both SA-binding motifs disrupt Rad21-SA1/2 interaction, they had no apparent effect on the Smc1-Smc3-Rad21 interaction. However, the Rad21-Rad21 dimerization was reduced by the mutations, indicating potential involvement of the two SA-binding motifs in the formation of the two-ring handcuff for chromosomal cohesion. Furthermore, mutant Rad21 proteins failed to significantly rescue precocious chromosome separation caused by depletion of endogenous Rad21 in mitotic cells, further indicating the physiological significance of the two SA-binding motifs of Rad21.
During meiosis, Structural Maintenance of Chromosome (SMC) complexes underpin two fundamental features of meiosis: homologous recombination and chromosome segregation. While meiotic functions of the cohesin and condensin complexes have been delineated, the role of the third SMC complex, Smc5/6, remains enigmatic. Here we identify specific, essential meiotic functions for the Smc5/6 complex in homologous recombination and the regulation of cohesin. We show that Smc5/6 is enriched at centromeres and cohesin-association sites where it regulates sister-chromatid cohesion and the timely removal of cohesin from chromosomal arms, respectively. Smc5/6 also localizes to recombination hotspots, where it promotes normal formation and resolution of a subset of joint-molecule intermediates. In this regard, Smc5/6 functions independently of the major crossover pathway defined by the MutLγ complex. Furthermore, we show that Smc5/6 is required for stable chromosomal localization of the XPF-family endonuclease, Mus81-Mms4Eme1. Our data suggest that the Smc5/6 complex is required for specific recombination and chromosomal processes throughout meiosis and that in its absence, attempts at cell division with unresolved joint molecules and residual cohesin lead to severe recombination-induced meiotic catastrophe.
Meiosis is a specialized cell division that exactly halves the number of chromosomes transmitted from each parent to their offspring via gamete cells (such as sperm and eggs). This requires that matching (‘homologous’) chromosomes associate and then separate into different cells such that each gamete contains exactly one complete set of chromosomes. In many organisms, this sequence of events is facilitated by the induction and repair of chromosome breaks via a process called homologous recombination. As homologous chromosomes engage in recombination, matching DNA strands between broken and intact template chromosomes become intertwined in repair intermediates called Joint Molecules. In this study, we show that a highly conserved protein complex called the Structural Maintenance of Chromosomes 5/6 (Smc5/6) complex is important for regulating the choice of recombination template as well as for the resolution of Joint Molecules that is required for chromosomes to separate. Even though Joint Molecules remain unresolved in mutants that lack normal Smc5/6 function, cells still attempt to separate chromosomes and meiosis becomes catastrophic. Thus, Smc5/6 mutants have a two-fold defect: accumulation of unresolved Joint Molecules and a failure to stall meiosis in order to remove these structures.
The cohesin complex has recently been shown to be a key regulator of eukaryotic gene expression, although the mechanisms by which it exerts its effects are poorly understood. We have undertaken a genome-wide analysis of DNA methylation in cohesin-deficient cell lines from probands with Cornelia de Lange syndrome (CdLS). Heterozygous mutations in NIPBL, SMC1A and SMC3 genes account for ∼65% of individuals with CdLS. SMC1A and SMC3 are subunits of the cohesin complex that controls sister chromatid cohesion, whereas NIPBL facilitates cohesin loading and unloading. We have examined the methylation status of 27 578 CpG dinucleotides in 72 CdLS and control samples. We have documented the DNA methylation pattern in human lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs) as well as identified specific differential DNA methylation in CdLS. Subgroups of CdLS probands and controls can be classified using selected CpG loci. The X chromosome was also found to have a unique DNA methylation pattern in CdLS. Cohesin preferentially binds to hypo-methylated DNA in control LCLs, whereas the differential DNA methylation alters cohesin binding in CdLS. Our results suggest that in addition to DNA methylation multiple mechanisms may be involved in transcriptional regulation in human cells and in the resultant gene misexpression in CdLS.
The structural maintenance of chromosome proteins SMC1 and SMC3 play an important role in the maintenance of chromosomal integrity by preventing the premature separation of the sister chromatids at the onset of anaphase. The two proteins are constitutive components of the multimeric complex cohesin and form dimers by interacting at their central globular regions.
In order to identify proteins that by binding to SMC3 may interfere with the protein dimerization process, a human cDNA library was screened by the yeast two-hybrid system by using the hinge region of SMC3 as bait. This has lead to the identification of Hinderin, a novel five domains protein including two coiled-coil motifs and sharing a strikingly structural similarity to the SMC family of proteins. Hinderin is ubiquitously expressed in human tissues. Orthologue forms of the protein are present in other vertebrates but not in lower organisms. A mapping of the interaction sites revealed that the N- and C-terminal globular domains mediate the binding of Hinderin to SMC3. Hinderin/SMC3 complexes could be recovered by immunoprecipitation from cell lysates using an anti-SMC3 antibody, thus demonstrating that the two proteins interact in vivo. On the contrary, Hinderin did not interact with SMC1. In vivo the rate of SMC1/SMC3 interaction was decreased by the ectopic expression of Hinderin.
Hinderin is a novel binding partner of SMC3. Based on its ability to modulate SMC1/SMC3 interaction we postulate that Hinderin affects the availability of SMC3 to engage in the formation of multimeric protein complexes.