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Chromosoma. 2010 Oct;119(5):459-67. doi: 10.1007/s00412-010-0271-z. Epub 2010 Mar 30.

Sister chromatid resolution: a cohesin releasing network and beyond.

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Chromosome Dynamics Laboratory, RIKEN Advanced Science Institute, 2-1 Hirosawa, Wako, Saitama, Japan.


When chromosomes start to assemble in mitotic prophase, duplicated chromatids are not discernible within each chromosome. As condensation proceeds, they gradually show up, culminating in two rod-shaped structures apposed along their entire length within a metaphase chromosome. This process, known as sister chromatid resolution, is thought to be a prerequisite for rapid and synchronous separation of sister chromatids in anaphase. From a mechanistic point of view, the resolution process can be dissected into three distinct steps: (1) release of cohesin from chromosome arms; (2) formation of chromatid axes mediated by condensins; and (3) untanglement of inter-sister catenation catalyzed by topoisomerase II (topo II). In this review article, we summarize recent progress in our understanding the molecular mechanisms of sister chromatid resolution with a major focus on its first step, cohesin release. An emerging idea is that this seemingly simple step is regulated by an intricate network of positive and negative factors, including cohesin-binding proteins and mitotic kinases. Interestingly, some key factors responsible for cohesin release in early mitosis also play important roles in controlling cohesin functions during interphase. Finally, we discuss how the step of cohesin release might mechanistically be coordinated with the actions of condensins and topo II.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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