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Eur J Biochem. 1999 Jul;263(1):6-13.

Structural maintenance of chromosomes (SMC) proteins: conserved molecular properties for multiple biological functions.

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National Institutes of Health, NICHD, Laboratory of Molecular Embryology, Bethesda, MD, USA.


The evolutionarily-conserved eukaryotic SMC (structural maintenance of chromosomes) proteins are ubiquitous chromosomal components in prokaryotes and eukaryotes. The eukaryotic SMC proteins form two kind of heterodimers: the SMC1/SMC3 and the SMC2/SMC4 types. These heterodimers constitute an essential part of higher order complexes, which are involved in chromatin and DNA dynamics. The two most prominent and best-characterized complexes are cohesin and condensin, necessary for sister chromatid cohesion and chromosome condensation. Here we discuss these functions together with additional roles in gene dosage compensation and DNA recombination.

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