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Genes Cells. 2007 Jun;12(6):693-708.

Sister chromatid cohesion: the cohesin cleavage model does not ring true.

Author information

  • 1Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Embryology, Carnegie Institution of Washington, Baltimore, MD 21210, USA.

Erratum in

  • Genes Cells. 2007 Jul;12(7):903.


Sister chromatid cohesion is important for high fidelity chromosome segregation during anaphase. Gene products that provide structural components (cohesin complex or cohesin) and regulatory components responsible for cohesion are conserved through eukaryotes. A simple model where cohesion establishment occurs by replication through static cohesin rings and cohesion dissolution occurs by Esp1p/separase mediated cleavage of the cohesin rings (Mcd1p/Rad21p/Scc1p sub-unit cleavage) has become widespread. A growing body of evidence is inconsistent with this ring cleavage model. This review will summarize the evidence showing that cohesin complex is not static but is regulated at multiple cell cycle stages before anaphase in a separase independent manner. Separase is indeed required at anaphase for complete chromosome segregation. However, multiple mechanisms for cohesion dissolution appear to act concurrently during anaphase. Separase is only one such mechanism and its importance varies from organism to organism. The idea that cohesin is a dynamic complex subjected to regulation at various cell cycle stages by multiple mechanisms makes sense in light of the myriad functions in which it has been implicated, such as DNA damage repair, gene silencing and chromosome condensation.

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