How do chromosomes take shape?
Failures in chromosome segregation give rise to cells or gametes with abnormal numbers of chromosomes. Aneuploidy is a common cause of genetic disorders and aneuploid cells likely serve as precursors in the development of many cancers, highlighting the importance of genome maintenance.
A set of structural maintenance of chromosomes (SMC) protein complexes help transform chromosomes into distinctive, compact shapes during mitosis allowing them to be faithfully segregated before cell division. Cohesin specifically links sister chromatids together. Condensin is thought to preferentially or exclusively build intra-chromatid tethers thereby promoting length-wise condensation of chromatids. Our lab is studying the bacterial and archaeal ancestor of cohesin and condensin, called prokaryotic SMC complex or Smc–ScpAB, with the aim to shed light on fundamentally conserved aspects of the structure and biochemical mechanism of action of SMC protein complexes.Relocation Summer 2016: New GruberLab @ DMF-UNIL, Lausanne, Switzerland