Genome control by SMC complexes.


Many cellular processes require large-scale rearrangements of chromatin structure. Structural maintenance of chromosomes (SMC) protein complexes are molecular machines that can provide structure to chromatin. These complexes can connect DNA elements in cis, walk along DNA, build and processively enlarge DNA loops and connect DNA molecules in trans to hold together the sister chromatids. These DNA-shaping abilities place SMC complexes at the heart of many DNA-based processes, including chromosome segregation in mitosis, transcription control and DNA replication, repair and recombination. In this Review, we discuss the latest insights into how SMC complexes such as cohesin, condensin and the SMC5-SMC6 complex shape DNA to direct these fundamental chromosomal processes. We also consider how SMC complexes, by building chromatin loops, can counteract the natural tendency of alike chromatin regions to cluster. SMC complexes thus control nuclear organization by participating in a molecular tug of war that determines the architecture of our genome.

More about this publication

Nature reviews. Molecular cell biology
  • Volume 24
  • Issue nr. 9
  • Pages 633-650
  • Publication date 01-09-2023

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