The condensin complex is a mechanochemical motor that translocates along DNA

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Abstract

Condensin plays crucial roles in chromosome organization and compaction, but the mechanistic basis for its functions remains obscure. We used single-molecule imaging to demonstrate that Saccharomyces cerevisiae condensin is a molecular motor capable of adenosine triphosphate hydrolysis–dependent translocation along double-stranded DNA. Condensin’s translocation activity is rapid and highly processive, with individual complexes traveling an average distance of ≥10 kilobases at a velocity of ~60 base pairs per second. Our results suggest that condensin may take steps comparable in length to its ~50-nanometer coiled-coil subunits, indicative of a translocation mechanism that is distinct from any reported for a DNA motor protein. The finding that condensin is a mechanochemical motor has important implications for understanding the mechanisms of chromosome organization and condensation.

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