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Trends Cell Biol. 2011 Sep;21(9):552-9. doi: 10.1016/j.tcb.2011.06.003. Epub 2011 Jul 15.

Deciphering condensin action during chromosome segregation.

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European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), Meyerhofstrasse 1, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany.


The correct segregation of eukaryotic genomes requires the resolution of sister DNA molecules and their movement into opposite halves of the cell before cell division. The dynamic changes chromosomes need to undergo during these events depend on the action of a multi-subunit SMC (structural maintenance of chromosomes) protein complex named condensin, but its molecular function in chromosome segregation is still poorly understood. Recent studies suggest that condensin has a role in the removal of sister chromatid cohesin, in sister chromatid decatenation by topoisomerases, and in the structural reconfiguration of mitotic chromosomes. In this review we discuss possible mechanisms that could explain the variety of condensin actions during chromosome segregation.

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