Background: The coordination of cell cycle events is necessary to ensure the proper duplication and dissemination of the genome. In this study, we examine the consequences of depleting Drad21 and SA, two non-SMC subunits of the cohesin complex, by dsRNA-mediated interference in Drosophila cultured cells.
Results: We have shown that a bona fide cohesin complex exists in Drosophila embryos. Strikingly, the Drad21/Scc1 and SA/Scc3 non-SMC subunits associate more intimately With one another than they do with the SMCs. We have observed defects in mitotic progression in cells from which Drad21 has been depleted: cells delay in prometaphase with normally condensed, but prematurely separated, sister chromatids and with abnormal spindle morphology. Much milder defects are observed when SA is depleted from cells. The dynamics of the chromosome passenger protein, INCENP, are affected after Drad21 depletion. We have also made the surprising observation that SA is unstable in the absence of Drad21; however, we have shown that the converse is not true. Interference with Drad21 in living Drosophila embryos also has deleterious effects on mitotic progression.
Conclusions: We conclude that Drad21, as a member of a cohesin complex, is required in Drosophila cultured cells and embryos for proper mitotic progression. The protein is required in cultured cells for chromosome cohesion, spindle morphology, dynamics of a chromosome passenger protein, and stability of the cohesin complex but apparently not for normal chromosome condensation. The observation of SA instability in the absence of Drad21 implies that the expression of cohesin subunits and assembly of the cohesin complex will be tightly regulated.