Condensin extrudes DNA loops in steps up to hundreds of base pairs that are generated by ATP binding events

Je Kyung Ryu, Sang Hyun Rah, Richard Janissen, Jacob W.J. Kerssemakers, Andrea Bonato, Davide Michieletto, Cees Dekker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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The condensin SMC protein complex organizes chromosomal structure by extruding loops of DNA. Its ATP-dependent motor mechanism remains unclear but likely involves steps associated with large conformational changes within the ∼50 nm protein complex. Here, using high-resolution magnetic tweezers, we resolve single steps in the loop extrusion process by individual yeast condensins. The measured median step sizes range between 20-40 nm at forces of 1.0-0.2 pN, respectively, comparable with the holocomplex size. These large steps show that, strikingly, condensin typically reels in DNA in very sizeable amounts with ∼200 bp on average per single extrusion step at low force, and occasionally even much larger, exceeding 500 bp per step. Using Molecular Dynamics simulations, we demonstrate that this is due to the structural flexibility of the DNA polymer at these low forces. Using ATP-binding-impaired and ATP-hydrolysis-deficient mutants, we find that ATP binding is the primary step-generating stage underlying DNA loop extrusion. We discuss our findings in terms of a scrunching model where a stepwise DNA loop extrusion is generated by an ATP-binding-induced engagement of the hinge and the globular domain of the SMC complex.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)820-832
JournalNucleic acids research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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