Cell Biology

A Sticky Business

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Science  11 Dec 2009:
Vol. 326, Issue 5959, pp. 1460
DOI: 10.1126/science.326.5959.1460-c

Cohesin is a complex of proteins that binds to DNA. The name cohesin is derived from its function in maintaining the cohesion of sister chromatids after DNA replication; this ensures their faithful segregation into daughter cells during mitosis. The effects of mutations in cohesin proteins suggest that they may be involved in other nuclear events as well, such as gene expression.

Gard et al. have introduced mutations into yeast cohesin genes that correspond to those that are linked to the human developmental disorders Roberts syndrome and Cornelia de Lange syndrome. No effects on chromosome cohesion were detected, but there were clear anomalies in nuclear organization: specifically, chromosome condensation, telomere arrangement, and nucleolus morphology. Furthermore, mutations in two of the cohesin proteins impaired the localization of a gene to the nuclear periphery that normally would occur upon transcriptional activation. Cohesin itself is highly conserved, and its role in nuclear processes may explain in part the abnormalities found in cohesin-linked human diseases.

J. Cell Biol. 187, 455 (2009).

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