The replicative helicase MCM recruits cohesin acetyltransferase ESCO2 to mediate centromeric sister chromatid cohesion

EMBO J. 2018 Aug 1;37(15):e97150. doi: 10.15252/embj.201797150. Epub 2018 Jun 21.


Chromosome segregation depends on sister chromatid cohesion which is established by cohesin during DNA replication. Cohesive cohesin complexes become acetylated to prevent their precocious release by WAPL before cells have reached mitosis. To obtain insight into how DNA replication, cohesion establishment and cohesin acetylation are coordinated, we analysed the interaction partners of 55 human proteins implicated in these processes by mass spectrometry. This proteomic screen revealed that on chromatin the cohesin acetyltransferase ESCO2 associates with the MCM2-7 subcomplex of the replicative Cdc45-MCM-GINS helicase. The analysis of ESCO2 mutants defective in MCM binding indicates that these interactions are required for proper recruitment of ESCO2 to chromatin, cohesin acetylation during DNA replication, and centromeric cohesion. We propose that MCM binding enables ESCO2 to travel with replisomes to acetylate cohesive cohesin complexes in the vicinity of replication forks so that these complexes can be protected from precocious release by WAPL Our results also indicate that ESCO1 and ESCO2 have distinct functions in maintaining cohesion between chromosome arms and centromeres, respectively.

Keywords: DNA replication; ESCO1; acetylation; cohesin; replisome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetylation
  • Acetyltransferases / metabolism*
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / metabolism
  • Chromatids / metabolism*
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone / metabolism*
  • Chromosome Segregation / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Minichromosome Maintenance Proteins / metabolism*
  • Mitosis / genetics


  • CDC45 protein, human
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone
  • cohesins
  • Acetyltransferases
  • ESCO1 protein, human
  • ESCO2 protein, human
  • Minichromosome Maintenance Proteins