Condensins are large protein complexes that play a central role in chromosome assembly and segregation in eukaryotic cells.


Subunit composition

Many eukaryotic cells possess two different types of condensin complexes, known as condensin I and condensin II. The two complexes share the same pair of core subunits, SMC2 and SMC4, both belonging to a large family of chromosomal ATPases, known as SMC proteins. SMC stands for Structural Maintenance of Chromosomes. Each of the complexes contains a distinct set of non-SMC regulatory subunits. The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans has a condensin I-related complex involved in dosage compensation (DCC).

Complex Subunit Classification S. cerevisiae S. pombe C. elegans D. melanogaster Vertebrates (human genes)
condensin I & II SMC2 ATPase Smc2 Cut14 MIX-1 DmSmc2 CAP-E (SMC2)
condensin I & II SMC4 ATPase Smc4 Cut3 SMC-4 DmSmc4 CAP-C (SMC4)
condensin I CAP-D2 HEAT Ycs4 Cnd1 DPY-28 CG1911 CAP-D2 (NCAPD2)
condensin I CAP-G HEAT Ycg1 Cnd3 CAP-G1 cap-g CAP-G (NCAPG)
condensin I CAP-H kleisin Brn1 Cnd2 DPY-26 barren CAP-H (NCAPH)
condensin II CAP-D3 HEAT - - HCP-6 CG31989 CAP-D3 (NCAPD3)
condensin II CAP-G2 HEAT - - CAP-G2 -? CAP-G2 (NCAPG2)
condensin II CAP-H2 kleisin - - KLE-2 CG14685 CAP-H2 (NCAPH2)
condensin I (DCC) SMC4 variant ATPase - - DPY-27 - -


The structure and function of condensin I are conserved from yeast to humans, but yeast has no condensin II. The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans possesses both condensin I and II, yet has a third complex (closely related to condensin I) that participates in chromosome-wide gene regulation, i.e., dosage compensation. Even in bacterial cells, ancestral forms of condensins regulate the organization and segregation of their chromosomes (nucleoids).

Subcellular localization and regulation

In human tissue culture cells, the two condensin complexes are regulated differently during the cell cycle. Condensin II is present within the cell nucleus during interphase and is involved in an early stage of chromosome condensation within the prophase nucleus. On the other hand, condensin I is present in the cytoplasm during interphase, and gains access to chromosomes only after the nuclear envelope breaks down at the end of prophase. During prometaphase and metaphase, both condensin I and condensin II contribute to the assembly of condensed chromosomes, in which two sister chromatids are fully resolved. The two complexes apparently stay associated with chromosomes after the sister chromatids separate from each other in anaphase. At least one of the subunits of condensin I is known to be a direct target of a cyclin-dependent kinase (Cdk).

Biochemical activities

Purified condensin I introduces positive superhelical tension into DNA in an ATP-hydrolysis-dependent manner. It also displays a DNA-stimulated ATPase activity in vitro.


Eukaryotic cells have two additional classes of SMC protein complexes. Cohesin contains SMC1 and SMC3 and is involved in sister chromatid cohesion. The SMC5/6 complex contains SMC5 and SMC6 and is implicated in recombinational repair.

See also


  • Hirano T (2005). "Condensins: organizing and segregating the genome". Curr Biol 15: R265-R275. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2005.03.037. PMID 15823530. 
  • Wood AJ, Severson, AF, Meyer BJ (2010). "Condensin and cohesin complexity: the expanding repertoire of functions". Nat Rev Genet 11 (6): 391–404. doi:10.1038/nrg2794. PMID 20442714. 

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • condensin — noun A large protein complexes that plays a central role in chromosome assembly and segregation in eukaryotic cells See Also: cohesin …   Wiktionary

  • condensin — con·den·sin (kən denґsin) a protein complex consisting of five polypeptides that binds to chromatin during mitosis, using the energy from ATP hydrolysis to produce supercoiling of DNA …   Medical dictionary

  • NCAPD2 — Non SMC condensin I complex, subunit D2 Identifiers Symbols NCAPD2; CAP D2; CNAP1; KIAA0159; hCAP D2 External IDs …   Wikipedia

  • NCAPH — Non SMC condensin I complex, subunit H Identifiers Symbols NCAPH; BRRN1; CAP H; HCAP H External IDs …   Wikipedia

  • NCAPD3 — Non SMC condensin II complex, subunit D3 Identifiers Symbols NCAPD3; CAP D3; FLJ42888; KIAA0056; MGC104671; hCAP D3; hHCP 6; hcp 6 External IDs …   Wikipedia

  • NCAPG — Non SMC condensin I complex, subunit G Identifiers Symbols NCAPG; CAPG; CHCG; FLJ12450; HCAP G; MGC126525; NY MEL 3 External IDs …   Wikipedia

  • NCAPH2 — Non SMC condensin II complex, subunit H2 Identifiers Symbols NCAPH2; CAPH2; MGC15858; MGC18000; MGC2455; MGC4133; MGC5305; MGC8640 External IDs …   Wikipedia

  • NCAPG2 — Non SMC condensin II complex, subunit G2 Identifiers Symbols NCAPG2; CAP G2; FLJ20311; LUZP5; MTB; hCAP G2 External IDs …   Wikipedia

  • SMC2 — Structural maintenance of chromosomes 2, also known as SMC2, is a human gene.cite web | title = Entrez Gene: SMC2 structural maintenance of chromosomes 2| url = Cmd=ShowDetailView… …   Wikipedia

  • SMC4 — Structural maintenance of chromosomes 4, also known as SMC4, is a human gene.cite web | title = Entrez Gene: SMC4 structural maintenance of chromosomes 4| url = Cmd=ShowDetailView… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.