Looping the Genome with SMC Complexes

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SMC (structural maintenance of chromosomes) protein complexes are an evolutionarily conserved family of motor proteins that hold sister chromatids together and fold genomes throughout the cell cycle by DNA loop extrusion. These complexes play a key role in a variety of functions in the packaging and regulation of chromosomes, and they have been intensely studied in recent years. Despite their importance, the detailed molecular mechanism for DNA loop extrusion by SMC complexes remains unresolved. Here, we describe the roles of SMCs in chromosome biology and particularly review in vitro single-molecule studies that have recently advanced our understanding of SMC proteins. We describe the mechanistic biophysical aspects of loop extrusion that govern genome organization and its consequences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-41
Number of pages27
JournalAnnual review of biochemistry
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • DNA loop extrusion
  • genome organization
  • single-molecule studies
  • SMC complexes


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