Cohesin and its regulation: on the logic of X-shaped chromosomes

Dev Cell. 2014 Oct 13;31(1):7-18. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2014.09.010.


The X shape of chromosomes is one of the iconic images in biology. Cohesin actually connects the sister chromatids along their entire length, from S phase until mitosis. Then, cohesin's antagonist Wapl allows the separation of chromosome arms by opening a DNA exit gate in cohesin rings. Centromeres are protected against this removal activity, resulting in the X shape of mitotic chromosomes. The destruction of the remaining centromeric cohesin by Separase triggers chromosome segregation. We review the two-phase regulation of cohesin removal and discuss how this affects chromosome alignment and decatenation in mitosis and cohesin reloading in the next cell cycle.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / genetics
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / metabolism*
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone / genetics
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone / metabolism*
  • Chromosome Structures / genetics*
  • Chromosome Structures / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mitosis*


  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone
  • cohesins