Cohesin-dependent chromosome loop extrusion is limited by transcription and stalled replication forks

Sci Adv. 2022 Jun 10;8(23):eabn7063. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abn7063. Epub 2022 Jun 10.


Genome function depends on regulated chromosome folding, and loop extrusion by the protein complex cohesin is essential for this multilayered organization. The chromosomal positioning of cohesin is controlled by transcription, and the complex also localizes to stalled replication forks. However, the role of transcription and replication in chromosome looping remains unclear. Here, we show that reduction of chromosome-bound RNA polymerase weakens normal cohesin loop extrusion boundaries, allowing cohesin to form new long-range chromosome cis interactions. Stress response genes induced by transcription inhibition are also shown to act as new loop extrusion boundaries. Furthermore, cohesin loop extrusion during early S phase is jointly controlled by transcription and replication units. Together, the results reveal that replication and transcription machineries are chromosome-folding regulators that block the progression of loop-extruding cohesin, opening for new perspectives on cohesin's roles in genome function and stability.