PhD Student, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health
Smc5/6 complex, along with cohesin (Smc1/3) and condensin (Smc2/4), is the least studied and characterized protein complex of three Structural Maintenance of Chromosomes (SMC) complexes responsible for chromosome architecture and dynamics. It plays a central role in maintaining genome integrity. Previous reports showed that mutations in the Smc5/6 complex cause severe developmental defects, including microcephaly and primordial dwarfism in humans. However, it is not known exactly how the loss of Smc5/6 disrupts the molecular pathways in the developing brain. We have developed a novel mutant mouse model harboring a conditional knock-out (cKO) allele of Smc5. These mice exhibit microcephaly during embryonic development through adulthood, thus mimicking the defect seen in humans. We confirm our previous observation that cKO of Smc5 results in the destabilization of the entire Smc5/6 complex. We compared brain morphology and neural stem cell status in Smc5 cKO and control mice during fetal development, neonatal development and adulthood. We found that Smc5 cKO mice had severely underdeveloped cerebral cortex and showed reduced numbers of neural stem cells and progenitors within the ventricular zone (VZ) and lower cortical layers (VI-IV), respectively. In our current work, we are closely assessing development of the fetal brain to determine the direct consequences of destabilizing the Smc5/6 complex. We are also assessing the genetic causes of the apoptotic response that leads to the development of microcephaly. Ultimately, our research will contribute to understanding of the molecular functions of the Smc5/6 complex during brain development in humans.
Abstract: Four members of the structural maintenance of chromosome (SMC) protein family have essential functions in chromosome condensation (SMC2/4) and sister-chromatid cohesion (SMC1/3). The SMC5/6 complex has been implicated in chromosome replication, DNA repair and chromosome segregation in somatic cells, but its possible functions during mammalian meiosis are unknown. Here, we show in mouse spermatocytes that SMC5 and SMC6 are located at the central region of the synaptonemal complex from zygotene until diplotene. During late diplotene both proteins load to the chromocenters, where they colocalize with DNA Topoisomerase IIα, and then accumulate at the inner domain of the centromeres during the first and second meiotic divisions. Interestingly, SMC6 and DNA Topoisomerase IIα colocalize at stretched strands that join kinetochores during the metaphase II to anaphase II transition, and both are observed on stretched lagging chromosomes at anaphase II following treatment with Etoposide. During mitosis, SMC6 and DNA Topoisomerase IIα colocalize at the centromeres and chromatid axes. Our results are consistent with the participation of SMC5 and SMC6 in homologous chromosome synapsis during prophase I, chromosome and centromere structure during meiosis I and mitosis and, with DNA Topoisomerase IIα, in regulating centromere cohesion during meiosis II.
Pub.: 12 Jul '13, Pinned: 22 Aug '17
Abstract: During meiosis, Structural Maintenance of Chromosome (SMC) complexes underpin two fundamental features of meiosis: homologous recombination and chromosome segregation. While meiotic functions of the cohesin and condensin complexes have been delineated, the role of the third SMC complex, Smc5/6, remains enigmatic. Here we identify specific, essential meiotic functions for the Smc5/6 complex in homologous recombination and the regulation of cohesin. We show that Smc5/6 is enriched at centromeres and cohesin-association sites where it regulates sister-chromatid cohesion and the timely removal of cohesin from chromosomal arms, respectively. Smc5/6 also localizes to recombination hotspots, where it promotes normal formation and resolution of a subset of joint-molecule intermediates. In this regard, Smc5/6 functions independently of the major crossover pathway defined by the MutLγ complex. Furthermore, we show that Smc5/6 is required for stable chromosomal localization of the XPF-family endonuclease, Mus81-Mms4(Eme1). Our data suggest that the Smc5/6 complex is required for specific recombination and chromosomal processes throughout meiosis and that in its absence, attempts at cell division with unresolved joint molecules and residual cohesin lead to severe recombination-induced meiotic catastrophe.
Pub.: 05 Jan '14, Pinned: 22 Aug '17
Abstract: Genome integrity is crucial for safe reproduction. Therefore, chromatin structure and dynamics should be tightly regulated during germ cell development. Chromatin structure and function are in large part determined by the structural maintenance of chromosomes (SMC) protein complexes, of which SMC5/6 recently has been shown to be involved in both spermatogonial differentiation and meiosis during mouse spermatogenesis. We therefore investigated the role of this complex in human spermatogenesis. We found SMC6 to be expressed in the human testis and present in a subset of type Adark and type Apale spermatogonia, all spermatocytes, and round spermatids. During human meiosis, SMC5/6 is located at the synaptonemal complex (SC), the XY body, and at the centromeres during meiotic metaphases. However, in contrast to mouse spermatogenesis, SMC6 is not located at pericentromeric heterochromatin in human spermatogenic cells, indicating subtle but perhaps important differences in not only SMC5/6 function but maybe also in maintenance of genomic integrity at the repetitive pericentromeric regions. Nonetheless, our data clearly indicate that the SMC5/6 complex, as shown in mice, is involved in numerous crucial processes during human spermatogenesis, such as in spermatogonial development, on the SC between synapsed chromosomes, and in DNA double-strand break repair on unsynapsed chromosomes during pachynema.
Pub.: 24 May '14, Pinned: 22 Aug '17
Abstract: The Smc5/6 complex, along with cohesin and condensin, is a member of the structural maintenance of chromosome (SMC) family, large ring-like protein complexes that are essential for chromatin structure and function. Thanks to numerous studies of the mitotic cell cycle, Smc5/6 has been implicated to have roles in homologous recombination, restart of stalled replication forks, maintenance of ribosomal DNA (rDNA) and heterochromatin, telomerase-independent telomere elongation, and regulation of chromosome topology. The nature of these functions implies that the Smc5/6 complex also contributes to the profound chromatin changes, including meiotic recombination, that characterize meiosis. Only recently, studies in diverse model organisms have focused on the potential meiotic roles of the Smc5/6 complex. Indeed, Smc5/6 appears to be essential for meiotic recombination. However, due to both the complexity of the process of meiosis and the versatility of the Smc5/6 complex, many additional meiotic functions have been described. In this review, we provide a clear overview of the multiple functions found so far for the Smc5/6 complex in meiosis. Additionally, we compare these meiotic functions with the known mitotic functions in an attempt to find a common denominator and thereby create clarity in the field of Smc5/6 research.
Pub.: 08 May '15, Pinned: 22 Aug '17
Abstract: Correct duplication of stem cell genetic material and its appropriate segregation into daughter cells are requisites for tissue, organ and organism homeostasis. Disruption of stem cell genomic integrity can lead to developmental abnormalities and cancer. Roles of the Smc5/6 structural maintenance of chromosomes complex in pluripotent stem cell genome maintenance have not been investigated, despite its important roles in DNA synthesis, DNA repair and chromosome segregation as evaluated in other model systems. Using mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs) with a conditional knockout allele ofSmc5, we showed that Smc5 protein depletion resulted in destabilization of the Smc5/6 complex, accumulation of cells in G2 phase of the cell cycle and apoptosis. Detailed assessment of mitotic mESCs revealed abnormal condensin distribution and perturbed chromosome segregation, accompanied by irregular spindle morphology, lagging chromosomes and DNA bridges. Mutation ofSmc5resulted in retention of Aurora B kinase and enrichment of condensin on chromosome arms. Furthermore, we observed reduced levels of Polo-like kinase 1 at kinetochores during mitosis. Our study reveals crucial requirements of the Smc5/6 complex during cell cycle progression and for stem cell genome maintenance.
Pub.: 28 Feb '16, Pinned: 22 Aug '17
Abstract: The structural maintenance of chromosomes (SMC) family of proteins supports mitotic proliferation, meiosis, and DNA repair to control genomic stability. Impairments in chromosome maintenance are linked to rare chromosome breakage disorders. Here, we have identified a chromosome breakage syndrome associated with severe lung disease in early childhood. Four children from two unrelated kindreds died of severe pulmonary disease during infancy following viral pneumonia with evidence of combined T and B cell immunodeficiency. Whole exome sequencing revealed biallelic missense mutations in the NSMCE3 (also known as NDNL2) gene, which encodes a subunit of the SMC5/6 complex that is essential for DNA damage response and chromosome segregation. The NSMCE3 mutations disrupted interactions within the SMC5/6 complex, leading to destabilization of the complex. Patient cells showed chromosome rearrangements, micronuclei, sensitivity to replication stress and DNA damage, and defective homologous recombination. This work associates missense mutations in NSMCE3 with an autosomal recessive chromosome breakage syndrome that leads to defective T and B cell function and acute respiratory distress syndrome in early childhood.
Pub.: 19 Jul '16, Pinned: 22 Aug '17
Abstract: SMC complexes include three major classes: cohesin, condensin, and SMC5/6. However, the localization pattern and genetic requirements for the SMC5/6 complex during mammalian oogenesis had not previously been examined. In mouse oocytes, the SMC5/6 complex is enriched at the pericentromeric heterochromatin, and also localizes along chromosome arms during meiosis. The infertility phenotypes of females with a Zp3-Cre-driven conditional knockout (cKO) of Smc5 demonstrated that maternally expressed SMC5 protein is essential for early embryogenesis. Interestingly, protein levels of SMC5/6 complex components in oocytes decline as wild-type females age. When SMC5/6 complexes were completely absent in oocytes during meiotic resumption, homologous chromosomes failed to segregate accurately during meiosis I. Despite what appears to be an inability to resolve concatenation between chromosomes during meiosis, localization of topoisomerase II alpha to bivalents was not affected; however, localization of condensin along the chromosome axes was perturbed. Taken together, these data demonstrate that the SMC5/6 complex is essential for the formation of segregation-competent bivalents during meiosis I, and findings suggest that age-dependent depletion of the SMC5/6 complex in oocytes could contribute to increased incidence of oocyte aneuploidy and spontaneous abortion in aging females.
Pub.: 18 Mar '17, Pinned: 22 Aug '17
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