Cleavage of cohesin by the CD clan protease separin triggers anaphase in yeast.
Uhlmann F., Wernic D., Poupart MA., Koonin EV., Nasmyth K.
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.