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PLoS Genet. 2016 Oct 27;12(10):e1006337. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1006337. eCollection 2016 Oct.

Of Rings and Rods: Regulating Cohesin Entrapment of DNA to Generate Intra- and Intermolecular Tethers.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, United States of America.


The clinical relevance of cohesin in DNA repair, tumorigenesis, and severe birth defects continues to fuel efforts in understanding cohesin structure, regulation, and enzymology. Early models depicting huge cohesin rings that entrap two DNA segments within a single lumen are fading into obscurity based on contradictory findings, but elucidating cohesin structure amid a myriad of functions remains challenging. Due in large part to integrated uses of a wide range of methodologies, recent advances are beginning to cast light into the depths that previously cloaked cohesin structure. Additional efforts similarly provide new insights into cohesin enzymology: specifically, the discoveries of ATP-dependent transitions that promote cohesin binding and release from DNA. In combination, these efforts posit a new model that cohesin exists primarily as a relatively flattened structure that entraps only a single DNA molecule and that subsequent ATP hydrolysis, acetylation, and oligomeric assembly tether together individual DNA segments.

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