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Cell. 1997 May 16;89(4):511-21.

Condensins, chromosome condensation protein complexes containing XCAP-C, XCAP-E and a Xenopus homolog of the Drosophila Barren protein.

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Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, New York 11724, USA.


We report here purification and characterization of chromosome condensation protein complexes (termed condensins) containing XCAP-C and XCAP-E, two Xenopus members of the SMC family. Sucrose density gradient centrifugation reveals two major forms of condensins. The 8S form is a heterodimer of XCAP-C and XCAP-E, whereas the 13S form contains three additional subunits. One of them is identified as a homolog of the Drosophila Barren protein whose mutation shows a defect in chromosome segregation. Chromosomal targeting of condensins is mitosis-specific and is independent of topoisomerase IIalpha. 13S condensin is required for condensation, as demonstrated by immunodepletion and rescue experiments. Our results suggest that the condensin complexes represent the most abundant structural components of mitotic chromosomes and play a central role in driving chromosome condensation.

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