Cohesin complexes are critical for holding sister chromatids together during nuclear division. They also play important roles in the compaction of chromosomes and their bipolar attachment to the spindle, DNA double strand break repair, and the regulation of gene expression. Studies on sister chromatid cohesion in a wide range of organisms have shown that the proteins involved, and the general events of this important process are conserved between yeast, plants and animals. However, species-specific differences have been identified. In this review a general overview of cohesins, their roles-and mechanisms of action is presented, followed by a review of our current state of knowledge on plant cohesins. While plants utilize the same general set of cohesin proteins and similar processes to establish and release sister chromatid cohesion, they also exhibit a number of unique features that are likely to provide interesting new insights into the roles of these important proteins.
Keywords: Cohesion, DNA repair, Arabidopsis, kleisin, SMC, protein replication, sister chromatid cohesion, Prophase pathway, dephosphorylation, cohesion complex, Meiosis, protein binding
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