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Elife. 2016 May 18;5. pii: e14864. doi: 10.7554/eLife.14864.

Compaction and segregation of sister chromatids via active loop extrusion.

Author information

1
Department of Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, United States.
2
Department of Molecular Biosciences, Northwestern University, Evanston, United States.
3
Department of Physics and Astronomy, Northwestern University, Evanston, United States.
4
Institute for Medical Engineering and Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, United States.

Abstract

The mechanism by which chromatids and chromosomes are segregated during mitosis and meiosis is a major puzzle of biology and biophysics. Using polymer simulations of chromosome dynamics, we show that a single mechanism of loop extrusion by condensins can robustly compact, segregate and disentangle chromosomes, arriving at individualized chromatids with morphology observed in vivo. Our model resolves the paradox of topological simplification concomitant with chromosome 'condensation', and explains how enzymes a few nanometers in size are able to control chromosome geometry and topology at micron length scales. We suggest that loop extrusion is a universal mechanism of genome folding that mediates functional interactions during interphase and compacts chromosomes during mitosis.

KEYWORDS:

biophysics; chromosome; chromosomes; compaction; genes; molecular dynamics; none; polymer; simulations; structural biology

PMID:
27192037
PMCID:
PMC4914367
DOI:
10.7554/eLife.14864
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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