Monomeric cohesin state revealed by live-cell single-molecule spectroscopy

Wenjie Liu, Elisheva Biton, Anjali Pathania, Avi Matityahu, Joseph Irudayaraj, Itay Onn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The cohesin complex plays an important role in the maintenance of genome stability. Cohesin is composed of four core subunits and a set of regulatory subunits that interact with the core subunits. Less is known about cohesin dynamics in live cells and on the contribution of individual subunits to the overall complex. Understanding the tethering mechanism of cohesin is still a challenge, especially because the proposed mechanisms are still not conclusive. Models proposed to describe tethering depend on either the monomeric cohesin ring or a cohesin dimer. Here, we investigate the role of cohesin dynamics and stoichiometry in live yeast cells at single-molecule resolution. We explore the effect of regulatory subunit deletion on cohesin mobility and found that depletion of different regulatory subunits has opposing effects. Finally, we show that cohesin exists mostly as a canonical monomer throughout the cell cycle, and its monomeric form is independent of its regulatory factors. Our results demonstrate that single-molecule tools have the potential to provide new insights into the cohesin mechanism of action in live cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere48211
JournalEMBO Reports
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 5 2020


  • SMC complexes
  • chromosome
  • cohesin
  • fluorescence correlation spectroscopy
  • photon counting histogram

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics

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