Condensin Smc2-Smc4 Dimers Are Flexible and Dynamic

Jorine M. Eeftens, Allard J. Katan, Marc Kschonsak, Markus Hassler, Liza de Wilde, Essam M. Dief, Christian H. Haering*, Cees Dekker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)
29 Downloads (Pure)


Structural maintenance of chromosomes (SMC) protein complexes, including cohesin and condensin, play key roles in the regulation of higher-order chromosome organization. Even though SMC proteins are thought to mechanistically determine the function of the complexes, their native conformations and dynamics have remained unclear. Here, we probe the topology of Smc2-Smc4 dimers of the S. cerevisiae condensin complex with high-speed atomic force microscopy (AFM) in liquid. We show that the Smc2-Smc4 coiled coils are highly flexible polymers with a persistence length of only ~4 nm. Moreover, we demonstrate that the SMC dimers can adopt various architectures that interconvert dynamically over time, and we find that the SMC head domains engage not only with each other, but also with the hinge domain situated at the other end of the ~45-nm-long coiled coil. Our findings reveal structural properties that provide insights into the molecular mechanics of condensin complexes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1813-1818
Number of pages6
JournalCell Reports
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016


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