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PLoS Biol. 2006 Jul;4(8):e242.

Metazoan Scc4 homologs link sister chromatid cohesion to cell and axon migration guidance.

Author information

1
Institute of Human Genetics, University of Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom.

Abstract

Saccharomyces cerevisiae Scc2 binds Scc4 to form an essential complex that loads cohesin onto chromosomes. The prevalence of Scc2 orthologs in eukaryotes emphasizes a conserved role in regulating sister chromatid cohesion, but homologs of Scc4 have not hitherto been identified outside certain fungi. Some metazoan orthologs of Scc2 were initially identified as developmental gene regulators, such as Drosophila Nipped-B, a regulator of cut and Ultrabithorax, and delangin, a protein mutant in Cornelia de Lange syndrome. We show that delangin and Nipped-B bind previously unstudied human and fly orthologs of Caenorhabditis elegans MAU-2, a non-axis-specific guidance factor for migrating cells and axons. PSI-BLAST shows that Scc4 is evolutionarily related to metazoan MAU-2 sequences, with the greatest homology evident in a short N-terminal domain, and protein-protein interaction studies map the site of interaction between delangin and human MAU-2 to the N-terminal regions of both proteins. Short interfering RNA knockdown of human MAU-2 in HeLa cells resulted in precocious sister chromatid separation and in impaired loading of cohesin onto chromatin, indicating that it is functionally related to Scc4, and RNAi analyses show that MAU-2 regulates chromosome segregation in C. elegans embryos. Using antisense morpholino oligonucleotides to knock down Xenopus tropicalis delangin or MAU-2 in early embryos produced similar patterns of retarded growth and developmental defects. Our data show that sister chromatid cohesion in metazoans involves the formation of a complex similar to the Scc2-Scc4 interaction in the budding yeast. The very high degree of sequence conservation between Scc4 homologs in complex metazoans is consistent with increased selection pressure to conserve additional essential functions, such as regulation of cell and axon migration during development.

PMID:
16802858
PMCID:
PMC1484498
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pbio.0040242
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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