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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)