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Genes Cells. 2007 Sep;12(9):1075-90.

Condensin function at centromere chromatin facilitates proper kinetochore tension and ensures correct mitotic segregation of sister chromatids.

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  • 1NIH, NICHD, LGRD, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.


The condensin complex is essential for sister chromatid segregation in eukaryotic mitosis. Nevertheless, in budding yeast, condensin mutations result in massive mis-segregation of chromosomes containing the nucleolar organizer, while other chromosomes, which also contain condensin binding sites, remain genetically stable. To investigate this phenomenon we analyzed the mechanism of the cell-cycle arrest elicited by condensin mutations. Under restrictive conditions, the majority of condensin-deficient cells arrest in metaphase. This metaphase arrest is mediated by the spindle checkpoint, particularly by the spindle-kinetochore tension-controlling pathway. Inactivation of the spindle checkpoint in condensin mutants resulted in frequent chromosome non-disjunction, eliminating the bias in chromosome mis-segregation towards rDNA-containing chromosomes. The spindle tension defect in condensin-impaired cells is likely mediated by structural defects in centromere chromatin reflected by the partial loss of the centromere histone Cse4p. These findings show that, in addition to its essential role in rDNA segregation, condensin mediates segregation of the whole genome by maintaining the centromere structure in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

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