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Mol Biol Cell. 2017 Oct 15;28(21):2875-2886. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E17-04-0252. Epub 2017 Aug 23.

Condensin II plays an essential role in reversible assembly of mitotic chromosomes in situ.

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Chromosome Dynamics Laboratory, RIKEN, 2-1 Hirosawa, Wako, Saitama 351-0198, Japan.
Department of Medical Cell Biology, Institute of Molecular Embryology and Genetics, Kumamoto University, 2-2-1 Honjo, Chuo-ku, Kumamoto 860-0811, Japan.
Chromosome Dynamics Laboratory, RIKEN, 2-1 Hirosawa, Wako, Saitama 351-0198, Japan


Condensins I and II are multisubunit complexes that play a central role in mitotic chromosome assembly. Although both complexes become concentrated along the axial region of each chromatid by metaphase, it remains unclear exactly how such axes might assemble and contribute to chromosome shaping. To address these questions from a physico-chemical point of view, we have established a set of two-step protocols for inducing reversible assembly of chromosome structure in situ, namely within a whole cell. In this assay, mitotic chromosomes are first expanded in a hypotonic buffer containing a Mg2+-chelating agent and then converted into different shapes in a NaCl concentration-dependent manner. Both chromatin and condensin-positive chromosome axes are converted into near-original shapes at 100 mM NaCl. This assay combined with small interfering RNA depletion demonstrates that the recovery of chromatin shapes and the reorganization of axes are highly sensitive to depletion of condensin II but less sensitive to depletion of condensin I or topoisomerase IIα. Furthermore, quantitative morphological analyses using the machine-learning algorithm wndchrm support the notion that chromosome shaping is tightly coupled to the reorganization of condensin II-based axes. We propose that condensin II makes a primary contribution to mitotic chromosome architecture and maintenance in human cells.

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