, Volume 117, Issue 1, pp 51-66

Functional links between Drosophila Nipped-B and cohesin in somatic and meiotic cells

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Abstract

Drosophila Nipped-B is an essential protein that has multiple functions. It facilitates expression of homeobox genes and is also required for sister chromatid cohesion. Nipped-B is conserved from yeast to man, and its orthologs also play roles in deoxyribonucleic acid repair and meiosis. Mutation of the human ortholog, Nipped-B-Like (NIPBL), causes Cornelia de Lange syndrome (CdLS), associated with multiple developmental defects. The Nipped-B protein family is required for the cohesin complex that mediates sister chromatid cohesion to bind to chromosomes. A key question, therefore, is whether the Nipped-B family regulates gene expression, meiosis, and development by controlling cohesin. To gain insights into Nipped-B’s functions, we compared the effects of several Nipped-B mutations on gene expression, sister chromatid cohesion, and meiosis. We also examined association of Nipped-B and cohesin with somatic and meiotic chromosomes by immunostaining. Missense Nipped-B alleles affecting the same HEAT repeat motifs as CdLS-causing NIPBL mutations have intermediate effects on both gene expression and mitotic chromatid cohesion, linking these two functions and the role of NIPBL in human development. Nipped-B colocalizes extensively with cohesin on chromosomes in both somatic and meiotic cells and is present in soluble complexes with cohesin subunits in nuclear extracts. In meiosis, Nipped-B also colocalizes with the synaptonemal complex and contributes to maintenance of meiotic chromosome cores. These results support the idea that direct regulation of cohesin function underlies the diverse functions of Nipped-B and its orthologs.

Communicated by F. Uhlmann
Gause, Webber, and Misulovin provided equal contributions.