MCM2-7-dependent cohesin loading during S phase promotes sister-chromatid cohesion.

PMID 29611806


DNA replication transforms cohesin rings dynamically associated with chromatin into the cohesive form to establish sister-chromatid cohesion. Here, we show that, in human cells, cohesin loading onto chromosomes during early S phase requires the replicative helicase MCM2-7 and the kinase DDK. Cohesin and its loader SCC2/4 (NIPBL/MAU2 in humans) associate with DDK and phosphorylated MCM2-7. This binding does not require MCM2-7 activation by CDC45 and GINS, but its persistence on activated MCM2-7 requires fork-stabilizing replisome components. Inactivation of these replisome components impairs cohesin loading and causes interphase cohesion defects. Interfering with Okazaki fragment processing or nucleosome assembly does not impact cohesion. Therefore, MCM2-7-coupled cohesin loading promotes cohesion establishment, which occurs without Okazaki fragment maturation. We propose that the cohesin-loader complex bound to MCM2-7 is mobilized upon helicase activation, transiently held by the replisome, and deposited behind the replication fork to encircle sister chromatids and establish cohesion.