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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 Jun 17;105(24):8309-14. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0801273105. Epub 2008 Jun 11.

CTCF physically links cohesin to chromatin.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle WA 98195, USA.


Cohesin is required to prevent premature dissociation of sister chromatids after DNA replication. Although its role in chromatid cohesion is well established, the functional significance of cohesin's association with interphase chromatin is not clear. Using a quantitative proteomics approach, we show that the STAG1 (Scc3/SA1) subunit of cohesin interacts with the CCTC-binding factor CTCF bound to the c-myc insulator element. Both allele-specific binding of CTCF and Scc3/SA1 at the imprinted IGF2/H19 gene locus and our analyses of human DM1 alleles containing base substitutions at CTCF-binding motifs indicate that cohesin recruitment to chromosomal sites depends on the presence of CTCF. A large-scale genomic survey using ChIP-Chip demonstrates that Scc3/SA1 binding strongly correlates with the CTCF-binding site distribution in chromosomal arms. However, some chromosomal sites interact exclusively with CTCF, whereas others interact with Scc3/SA1 only. Furthermore, immunofluorescence microscopy and ChIP-Chip experiments demonstrate that CTCF associates with both centromeres and chromosomal arms during metaphase. These results link cohesin to gene regulatory functions and suggest an essential role for CTCF during sister chromatid cohesion. These results have implications for the functional role of cohesin subunits in the pathogenesis of Cornelia de Lange syndrome and Roberts syndromes.

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