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Distinct functions of human cohesin-SA1 and cohesin-SA2 in double-strand break repair.

  • Author(s): Kong, Xiangduo;
  • Ball, Alexander R;
  • Pham, Hoang Xuan;
  • Zeng, Weihua;
  • Chen, Hsiao-Yuan;
  • Schmiesing, John A;
  • Kim, Jong-Soo;
  • Berns, Michael;
  • Yokomori, Kyoko
  • et al.

Cohesin is an essential multiprotein complex that mediates sister chromatid cohesion critical for proper segregation of chromosomes during cell division. Cohesin is also involved in DNA double-strand break (DSB) repair. In mammalian cells, cohesin is involved in both DSB repair and the damage checkpoint response, although the relationship between these two functions is unclear. Two cohesins differing by one subunit (SA1 or SA2) are present in somatic cells, but their functional specificities with regard to DNA repair remain enigmatic. We found that cohesin-SA2 is the main complex corecruited with the cohesin-loading factor NIPBL to DNA damage sites in an S/G(2)-phase-specific manner. Replacing the diverged C-terminal region of SA1 with the corresponding region of SA2 confers this activity on SA1. Depletion of SA2 but not SA1 decreased sister chromatid homologous recombination repair and affected repair pathway choice, indicating that DNA repair activity is specifically associated with cohesin recruited to damage sites. In contrast, both cohesin complexes function in the intra-S checkpoint, indicating that cell cycle-specific damage site accumulation is not a prerequisite for cohesin's intra-S checkpoint function. Our findings reveal the unique ways in which cohesin-SA1 and cohesin-SA2 participate in the DNA damage response, coordinately protecting genome integrity in human cells.

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