Cohesin mediates higher-order chromosome structure. Its biological activities require topological entrapment of DNA within a lumen(s) formed by cohesin subunits. The reversible dissociation of cohesin's Smc3p and Mcd1p subunits is postulated to form a regulated gate that allows DNA entry and exit into the lumen. We assessed gate-independent functions of this interface in yeast using a fusion protein that joins Smc3p to Mcd1p. We show that in vivo all the regulators of cohesin promote DNA binding of cohesion by mechanisms independent of opening this gate. Furthermore, we show that this interface has a gate-independent activity essential for cohesin to bind chromosomes. We propose this interface regulates DNA entrapment by controlling the opening and closing of one or more distal interfaces formed by cohesin subunits, likely by inducing a conformation change in cohesin. Furthermore, cohesin regulators modulate the interface to control both DNA entrapment and cohesin functions after DNA binding.
All data generated in this study are included in the manuscript.
- Douglas E Koshland
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Prasad Jallepalli, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, United States
© 2019, Guacci et al.
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In a departure from previous findings, new results suggest that free-floating pieces of DNA which carry additional copies of cancer-driving genes do not tend to cluster or have increased transcription.
Extrachromosomal DNA (ecDNA) are frequently observed in human cancers and are responsible for high levels of oncogene expression. In glioblastoma (GBM), ecDNA copy number correlates with poor prognosis. It is hypothesized that their copy number, size, and chromatin accessibility facilitate clustering of ecDNA and colocalization with transcriptional hubs, and that this underpins their elevated transcriptional activity. Here, we use super-resolution imaging and quantitative image analysis to evaluate GBM stem cells harbouring distinct ecDNA species (EGFR, CDK4, PDGFRA). We find no evidence that ecDNA routinely cluster with one another or closely interact with transcriptional hubs. Cells with EGFR-containing ecDNA have increased EGFR transcriptional output, but transcription per gene copy is similar in ecDNA compared to the endogenous chromosomal locus. These data suggest that it is the increased copy number of oncogene-harbouring ecDNA that primarily drives high levels of oncogene transcription, rather than specific interactions of ecDNA with each other or with high concentrations of the transcriptional machinery.