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Drosophila Separase is required for sister chromatid separation and binds to PIM and THR

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press
Publication Date
  • Research Paper
  • Biology


Drosophila PIM and THR are required for sister chromatid separation in mitosis and associate in vivo. Neither of these two proteins shares significant sequence similarity with known proteins. However, PIM has functional similarities with securin proteins. Like securin, PIM is degraded at the metaphase-to-anaphase transition and this degradation is required for sister chromatid separation. Securin binds and inhibits separase, a conserved cysteine endoprotease. Proteolysis of securin at the metaphase-to-anaphase transition activates separase, which degrades a conserved cohesin subunit, thereby allowing sister chromatid separation. To address whether PIM regulates separase activity or functions with THR in a distinct pathway, we have characterized a Drosophila separase homolog (SSE). SSE is an unusual member of the separase family. SSE is only about one-third the size of other separases and has a diverged endoprotease domain. However, our genetic analyses show that SSE is essential and required for sister chromatid separation during mitosis. Moreover, we show that SSE associates with both PIM and THR. Although our work shows that separase is required for sister chromatid separation in higher eukaryotes, in addition, it also indicates that the regulatory proteins have diverged to a surprising degree, particularly in Drosophila.

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