ATP-dependent positive supercoiling of DNA by 13S condensin: a biochemical implication for chromosome condensation

Cell. 1997 Aug 22;90(4):625-34. doi: 10.1016/s0092-8674(00)80524-3.


13S condensin is a five-subunit protein complex that plays a central role in mitotic chromosome condensation in Xenopus egg extracts. Two core subunits of this complex, XCAP-C and XCAP-E, belong to an emerging family of putative ATPases, the SMC family. We report here that 13S condensin has a DNA-stimulated ATPase activity and exhibits a high affinity for structured DNAs such as cruciform DNA. 13S condensin is able to introduce positive supercoils into a closed circular DNA in the presence of bacterial or eukaryotic topoisomerase I. The supercoiling reaction is ATP-dependent. We propose that 13S condensin wraps DNA in a right-handed direction by utilizing the energy of ATP hydrolysis. This reaction may represent a key mechanism underlying the compaction of chromatin fibers during mitosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphatases / metabolism*
  • Adenosine Triphosphate / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cell Cycle Proteins*
  • Chromatin / metabolism
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone*
  • Chromosomes / metabolism*
  • DNA Helicases*
  • DNA Topoisomerases, Type I / metabolism
  • DNA, Circular / metabolism
  • DNA, Superhelical / metabolism*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Hydrolysis
  • Multiprotein Complexes
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism*
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • Oocytes / metabolism
  • Xenopus
  • Xenopus Proteins*


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Chromatin
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone
  • DNA, Circular
  • DNA, Superhelical
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Multiprotein Complexes
  • NCAPH protein, human
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • SMC2 protein, human
  • SMC4 protein, Xenopus
  • XCAP-E protein, Xenopus
  • Xenopus Proteins
  • condensin complexes
  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • Adenosine Triphosphatases
  • DNA Helicases
  • DNA Topoisomerases, Type I