Cohesin was originally identified as a mediator of sister chromatid cohesion both in mitosis and meiosis. Emerging evidences suggest that it also participates in the organization of interphase chromatin. The ring-shaped complex regulates gene expression by constraining chromatin topology in concert with factors such as the insulator CTCF, at least in certain loci. The global relevance of this function of cohesin remains to be assessed, but its contribution to the pathology of the Cornelia de Lange syndrome seems evident. Our current knowledge of the molecular mechanisms underlying cohesin behavior should now be considered from the perspective of its novel functions, which promise to be as relevant for cell viability as cohesion.
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