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In eukaryotic cells, replicated DNA strands remain physically connected until their segregation to opposite poles of the cell during anaphase. This "sister chromatid cohesion" is essential for the alignment of chromosomes on the mitotic spindle during metaphase. Cohesion depends on the multisubunit cohesin complex, which possibly forms the physical bridges connecting sisters. Proteolytic cleavage of cohesin's Sccl subunit at the metaphase to anaphase transition is essential for sister chromatid separation and depends on a conserved protein called separin. We show here that separin is a cysteine protease related to caspases that alone can cleave Sccl in vitro. Cleavage of Sccl in metaphase arrested cells is sufficient to trigger the separation of sister chromatids and their segregation to opposite cell poles.

Type

Journal article

Journal

Cell

Publication Date

27/10/2000

Volume

103

Pages

375 - 386

Keywords

Amino Acid Sequence, Amino Acid Substitution, Anaphase, Animals, Binding Sites, Cell Cycle Proteins, Cell Line, Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone, Chromosome Segregation, Chromosomes, Fungal, Conserved Sequence, Cysteine Endopeptidases, Cysteine Proteinase Inhibitors, Endopeptidases, Fungal Proteins, Mitosis, Molecular Sequence Data, Nuclear Proteins, Phosphoproteins, Phosphorylation, Protein Binding, Protein Processing, Post-Translational, Protein Structure, Tertiary, Recombinant Proteins, Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins, Separase, Sequence Alignment, Spodoptera, Yeasts