Cohesin Cleavage by Separase Required for Anaphase and Cytokinesis in Human Cells

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Science  17 Aug 2001:
Vol. 293, Issue 5533, pp. 1320-1323
DOI: 10.1126/science.1061376

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Cell division depends on the separation of sister chromatids in anaphase. In yeast, sister separation is initiated by cleavage of cohesin by the protease separase. In vertebrates, most cohesin is removed from chromosome arms by a cleavage-independent mechanism. Only residual amounts of cohesin are cleaved at the onset of anaphase, coinciding with its disappearance from centromeres. We have identified two separase cleavage sites in the human cohesin subunit SCC1 and have conditionally expressed noncleavable SCC1 mutants in human cells. Our results indicate that cohesin cleavage by separase is essential for sister chromatid separation and for the completion of cytokinesis.

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