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Cohesin localisation along fission yeast chromosomes delineates conserved mechanisms of binding

ABSTRACT: Cohesin holds sister chromatids together to enable their accurate segregation in mitosis. How, and where, cohesin binds to chromosomes are still poorly understood, and recent genome-wide surveys have revealed an apparent disparity between its chromosomal association patterns in different organisms. Here, we present the high-resolution analysis of cohesin localisation along fission yeast chromosomes. This reveals that several determinants, thought specific for distinct organisms, come together to shape the overall distribution. Cohesin is detected at chromosomal loading sites, characterised by the cohesin loader Mis4/Ssl3, in regions of strong transcriptional activity. Cohesin also responds to transcription by downstream translocation and accumulation at convergent transcriptional terminators surrounding the loading sites. As cells enter mitosis, a fraction of cohesin leaves chromosomes in a cleavage-independent reaction, while a substantial pool of cohesin dissociates when it is cleaved at anaphase onset. As a unique feature, centromeric cohesin spreads out onto chromosome arms during mitosis as the heterochromatin protein Swi6 dissociates from centromeres. Together, this allows us to suggest conserved mechanisms for chromosomal cohesin binding in eukaryotes. After DNA replication in S phase, sister chromatids are held together by the cohesin complex. This allows DNA break repair by homologous recombination in G2 and bipolar attachment of the spindle to sister kinetochores in mitosis. At anaphase onset, sister chromatid cohesion is resolved to trigger chromosome segregation. Cohesin is an essential, conserved protein complex consisting of at least five subunits, Psm1, Psm3, Rad21, Psc3 and Pds5 in fission yeast (orthologs of budding yeast Smc1, Smc3, Scc1, Scc3 and Pds5, respectively). Chromatin immunoprecipitations against three different subunits of the cohesin complex, fused to two different epitope tags (Rad21-Pk9 -> GSM333001, Rad21-HA3 -> GSM333004, Psc3-Pk9 -> GSM333005 and Pds5-Pk9 -> GSM333006), yielded a reproducible binding pattern between approximately half of all available convergently transcribed gene pairs (in the following called convergent sites). The pattern was almost indistinguishable between exponentially growing cell populations (GSM333004, GSM333005, GSM333006) and cells arrested in G2 using the thermosensitive cdc25-22 mutation (GSM333001). To understand why some, but not all, convergent sites are bound by cohesin, we analysed whether fission yeast cohesin responds to Pol II transcription by downstream translocation, like in budding yeast. As an example, we analysed cohesin at the convergent site between the rad21 and pof3 genes. rad21 expression is high during G1 and S phase, but low in G2. In cells arrested in G2 using the cdc25-22 allele, only a small cohesin peak was detectable that largely overlapped with the rad21 ORF (GSM333001). In contrast, in cells arrested in G1 using the cdc10-129 allele, the rad21 ORF was clear of cohesin and instead a large cohesin peak accumulated downstream of rad21 (GSM333007). It has been suggested that transcriptional readthrough at convergent sites promotes double stranded RNA-dependent heterochromatin formation, which in turn underlies cohesin recruitment. We therefore tested whether the heterochromatin protein Swi6, thought to recruit cohesin, played a role in generating the observed cohesin pattern. We grew wild type and swi6Δ cells in synthetic medium lacking thiamine, conditions under which the nmt2 gene is transcribed at the nmt2/avn2 convergent site that has been studied as an example. In contrast to the prediction, the cohesin pattern along chromosome arms, including the nmt2/avn2 convergent site, remained unchanged in swi6Δ cells (GSM333008). We detected only small amounts of cohesin at the nmt2/avn2 convergent site, a class 1 convergent site following the above classification. At the centromeric repeats, cohesin levels were reduced in the absence of Swi6. These findings are consistent with previous reports implicating Swi6 in cohesin recruitment to centromeric heterochromatin, but not chromosome arms. To compare cohesin’s pattern to its likely sites of chromosomal loading, we analysed the localisation of the cohesin loader subunits Mis4 and Ssl3. The two subunits showed a largely overlapping pattern of binding. Chromatin immunoprecipitation was performed against epitope-tagged Mis4-Pk9 (GSM333163) and Ssl3-Pk9 (GSM334196) from exponentially proliferating cells. As a control, cells without epitope-tagged protein were grown under identical conditions and processed in parallel for chromatin immunoprecipitation with an α-Pk antibody (GSM333230). The untagged control sample yielded trace amounts of immunoprecipitated DNA, which after amplification led to several strong peaks often in intergenic low complexity regions. Several of these peaks overlapped with Mis4/Ssl3 peaks, which were excluded from the analysis. Peaks in low complexity regions were not observed in chromatin immunoprecipitates of cohesin subunits (compare GSM333001). In the search for an underlying determinant of Mis4/Ssl3 binding sites, we noticed a striking correlation with tRNA and ribosomal protein genes. Mis4/Ssl3 binding sites at tRNA genes overlapped with the binding profile of the Pol III transcription factor TFIIIC subunit Sfc6 (GSM334198), while at ribosomal protein genes it colocalised with the forkhead domain containing protein Fhl1 (GSM334307). Fhl1 is a possible fission yeast ortholog of the transcription factor Fhl1 that controls ribosomal protein gene expression in budding yeast. We found Sfc6 also associated with ribosomal protein genes, and Fhl1 with tRNA genes, though with weaker signal intensities. We do not currently know whether Sfc6 contributes to transcriptional control of ribosomal protein genes, and Fhl1 to that of tRNA genes, or whether the weaker levels of association may reflect indirect association, mediated by interactions between ribosomal protein and tRNA gene loci. Similar to budding yeast, Mis4/Ssl3 binding sites are also binding sites for the chromosomal condensin complex (GSM334197), which may mediate such interactions. Having identified the binding sites of the Mis4/Ssl3 cohesin loader, we wanted to analyse its relationship with the cohesin distribution along chromosome arms. If Mis4/Ssl3 cohesin loading sites promote cohesin binding in their surrounding, deletion of a loading site should alter this pattern. To test this, we deleted a 489 bp sequence, containing two adjacent tRNA genes that form a Mis4/Ssl3 and cohesin binding site, on the left arm of chromosome 2. In response to the deletion, Mis4/Ssl3 binding to this locus disappeared (GSM334308). Cohesin was also no longer detected at this site (GSM334309), consistent with the notion that cohesin loading had been disrupted. However, the cohesin distribution at convergent sites surrounding the former loading site remained unchanged. This suggests that establishment of the cohesin pattern did not depend on a specific Mis4/Ssl3 binding site. Despite the tRNA deletion, residual Mis4/Ssl3 remained detectable in the vicinity of this site (GSM334308). Cohesin loading by Mis4/Ssl3 might therefore be less restricted to its peaks of binding than the pattern suggests. Alternatively, other determinants, e.g. gene orientation and their transcriptional activity, might define cohesin distribution at this locus. We next addressed how cohesin on fission yeast chromosomes responds to loss of sister chromatid cohesion during mitosis and whether cohesin removal in mitosis affected certain regions of the chromosome more than others. In order to follow cohesin through mitosis, we arrested a cell population in G2 using the thermosensitive cdc25-22 mutation and released the culture into synchronous mitotic progression at permissive temperature.The cohesin pattern remained largely unchanged throughout G2, metaphase and anaphase, although the height of peaks along chromosome arms decreased. This suggests that cohesin is not removed from a subset of its binding sites during mitosis, but that its association among most binding sites was uniformly reduced. A noticeable change to the cohesin pattern during mitosis became apparent around centromeres. Over a region of approximately 50 kb surrounding the centromeres, cohesin appeared to spread along chromosome arms, showing little preference for convergent sites. The spreading started as cells entered metaphase (GSM334316) and became most pronounced during anaphase (GSM334317). We also observed a similar, although less pronounced, spreading around centromeres in cells arrested in G1 using the cdc10-129 thermosensitive mutation (GSM333007). This suggests that spreading of cohesin around centromeres is cell cycle stage specific. Cohesin is enriched at the centromeric repeat regions (GSM333001), tethered by the heterochromatin protein Swi6, possibly after being loaded at core centromere sequences, where we observed strong Mis4/Ssl3 accumulation (GSM333163 & GSM334196). In mitosis, Swi6 levels are reduced after aurora B kinase-dependent phosphorylation of histone H3, and it reaccumulates as cells enter the subsequent S phase. To test whether loss of Swi6-dependent

ORGANISM(S): Schizosaccharomyces pombe  

SUBMITTER: Neil Brookes   Christine K Schmidt  Christine Katrin Schmidt  Frank Uhlmann 

PROVIDER: E-GEOD-13517 | ArrayExpress | 2010-05-14



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