Cohesins are protein complexes that join the two copies of each chromosome-called sister chromatids-to ensure that they are shared fairly between the daughter cells during cell division. In this way, each daughter cell receives exactly the same genetic information from the parent cell.
Pds5 is a protein associated with cohesins; it binds cohesins along different chromosome regions. In vertebrates there are two variants of Pds5, Pds5A and Pds5B, not very well characterised to date. Scientists from the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), led by Ana Losada, from the Chromosome Dynamics Group, have discovered-by using genetically-modified mice (knock-out mice for Pds5A and Pds5B)- that the two Pds5 variants are not equivalent, as both are necessary for cell proliferation and for embryo development to take place correctly.
The results, published today in the online version of The EMBO Journal, contribute to improving our understanding of how Pds5 proteins modulate the behaviour of cohesins, either by stabilising or destabilising the binding of cohesins to the chromosomes.
CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS OF THE STUDY