The molecular basis of sister-chromatid cohesion

Annu Rev Cell Dev Biol. 2001;17:753-77. doi: 10.1146/annurev.cellbio.17.1.753.


The replicated copies of each chromosome, the sister chromatids, are attached prior to their segregation in mitosis and meiosis. This association or cohesion is critical for each sister chromatid to bind to microtubules from opposite spindle poles and thus segregate away from each other at anaphase of mitosis or meiosis II. The cohesin protein complex is essential for cohesion in both mitosis and meiosis, and cleavage of one of the subunits is sufficient for loss of cohesion at anaphase. The localization of the cohesin complex and other cohesion proteins permits evaluation of the positions of sister-chromatid associations within the chromosome structure, as well as the relationship between cohesion and condensation. Recently, two key riddles in the mechanism of meiotic chromosome segregation have yielded to molecular answers. First, analysis of the cohesin complex in meiosis provides molecular support for the long-standing hypothesis that sister-chromatid cohesion links homologs in meiosis I by stabilizing chiasmata. Second, the isolation of the monopolin protein that controls kinetochore behavior in meiosis I defines a functional basis by which sister kinetochores are directed toward the same pole in meiosis I.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / genetics
  • Chromatids / physiology*
  • Kinetochores / physiology
  • Meiosis / physiology
  • Mitosis / physiology
  • Sister Chromatid Exchange / genetics
  • Sister Chromatid Exchange / physiology*


  • Cell Cycle Proteins