Binding, sliding, and function of cohesin during transcriptional activation

Melinda S. Borrie, John S. Campor, Hansa Joshi, Marc R. Gartenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The ring-shaped cohesin complex orchestrates long-range DNA interactions to mediate sister chromatid cohesion and other aspects of chromosome structure and function. In the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the complex binds discrete sites along chromosomes, including positions within and around genes. Transcriptional activity redistributes the complex to the 3′ ends of convergently oriented gene pairs. Despite the wealth of information about where cohesin binds, little is known about cohesion at individual chromosomal binding sites and how transcription affects cohesion when cohesin complexes redistribute. In this study, we generated extrachromosomal DNA circles to study cohesion in response to transcriptional induction of a model gene, URA3. Functional cohesin complexes loaded onto the locus via a poly(dA:dT) tract in the gene promoter and mediated cohesion before induction. Upon transcription, the fate of these complexes depended on whether the DNA was circular or not. When gene activation occurred before DNA circularization, cohesion was lost. When activation occurred after DNA circularization, cohesion persisted. The presence of a convergently oriented gene also prevented transcription-driven loss of functional cohesin complexes, at least in M phase-arrested cells. The results are consistent with cohesin binding chromatin in a topological embrace and with transcription mobilizing functional complexes by sliding them along DNA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E1062-E1071
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number7
StatePublished - Feb 14 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


  • Cohesin
  • Poly(dA:dT)
  • Sister chromatid cohesion
  • Transcription
  • URA3

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