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Sci Rep. 2015 Nov 19;5:16803. doi: 10.1038/srep16803.

Mutant cohesin affects RNA polymerase II regulation in Cornelia de Lange syndrome.

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Istituto di Ricerca Genetica e Biomedica, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Pisa, Italy.
Centre de recherche sur le cancer de l'Université Laval, Québec, Canada.
Centre de recherche du CHU de Québec (Hôtel-Dieu de Québec), Québec, Canada.
Division of Human Genetics, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA.
Département de biologie moléculaire, biochimie médicale et pathologie, Faculté de Médecine, Université Laval, Québec, Canada.


In addition to its role in sister chromatid cohesion, genome stability and integrity, the cohesin complex is involved in gene transcription. Mutations in core cohesin subunits SMC1A, SMC3 and RAD21, or their regulators NIPBL and HDAC8, cause Cornelia de Lange syndrome (CdLS). Recent evidence reveals that gene expression dysregulation could be the underlying mechanism for CdLS. These findings raise intriguing questions regarding the potential role of cohesin-mediated transcriptional control and pathogenesis. Here, we identified numerous dysregulated genes occupied by cohesin by combining the transcriptome of CdLS cell lines carrying mutations in SMC1A gene and ChIP-Seq data. Genome-wide analyses show that genes changing in expression are enriched for cohesin-binding. In addition, our results indicate that mutant cohesin impairs both RNA polymerase II (Pol II) transcription initiation at promoters and elongation in the gene body. These findings highlight the pivotal role of cohesin in transcriptional regulation and provide an explanation for the typical gene dysregulation observed in CdLS patients.

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