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Sister-chromatid cohesion is mediated by cohesin, a ring-shape complex made of four core subunits called Scc1, Scc3, Smc1, and Smc3 in Saccharomyces cerevisiae (Rad21, Psc3, Psm1, and Psm3 in Schizosaccharomyces pombe). How cohesin ensures cohesion is unknown, although its ring shape suggests that it may tether sister DNA strands by encircling them . Cohesion establishment is a two-step process. Cohesin is loaded on chromosomes before replication and cohesion is subsequently established during S phase. In S. cerevisiae, cohesin loading requires a separate complex containing the Scc2 and Scc4 proteins. Cohesin rings fail to associate with chromatin and cohesion can not establish when Scc2 is impaired . The mechanism of loading is unknown, although some data suggest that hydrolysis of ATP bound to Smc1/3 is required . Scc2 homologs exist in fission yeast (Mis4), Drosophila, Xenopus, and human . By contrast, no homolog of Scc4 has been identified so far. We report here on the identification of fission yeast Ssl3 as a Scc4-like factor. Ssl3 is in complex with Mis4 and, as a bona fide loading factor, Ssl3 is required in G1 for cohesin binding to chromosomes but dispensable in G2 when cohesion is established. The discovery of a functional homolog of Scc4 indicates that the machinery of cohesin loading is conserved among eukaryotes.

Citation

Pascal Bernard, Julie Drogat, Jean-François Maure, Sonia Dheur, Sabine Vaur, Sylvie Genier, Jean-Paul Javerzat. A screen for cohesion mutants uncovers Ssl3, the fission yeast counterpart of the cohesin loading factor Scc4. Current biology : CB. 2006 May 9;16(9):875-81

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PMID: 16682348

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