Distinct Roles for Condensin's Two ATPase Sites in Chromosome Condensation

Ahmed M.O. Elbatsh, Eugene Kim, Jorine M. Eeftens, Jonne A. Raaijmakers, Robin H. van der Weide, Alberto García-Nieto, Sol Bravo, Mahipal Ganji, Cees Dekker*, More Authors

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)
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Condensin is a conserved SMC complex that uses its ATPase machinery to structure genomes, but how it does so is largely unknown. We show that condensin's ATPase has a dual role in chromosome condensation. Mutation of one ATPase site impairs condensation, while mutating the second site results in hyperactive condensin that compacts DNA faster than wild-type, both in vivo and in vitro. Whereas one site drives loop formation, the second site is involved in the formation of more stable higher-order Z loop structures. Using hyperactive condensin I, we reveal that condensin II is not intrinsically needed for the shortening of mitotic chromosomes. Condensin II rather is required for a straight chromosomal axis and enables faithful chromosome segregation by counteracting the formation of ultrafine DNA bridges. SMC complexes with distinct roles for each ATPase site likely reflect a universal principle that enables these molecular machines to intricately control chromosome architecture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)724-737.e5
JournalMolecular Cell
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • ABC ATPase
  • chromosome condensation
  • cohesin
  • condensin
  • DNA loop extrusion
  • SMC complexes


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