Complete dissociation of sister chromatid cohesion and subsequent induction of poleward movement of disjoined sisters are two essential events underlying chromosome segregation; however, how cells coordinate these two processes is not well understood. Here, we developed a fluorescence-based sensor for the protease separase that mediates cohesin cleavage. We found that separase undergoes an abrupt activation shortly before anaphase onset in the vicinity of chromosomes. This activation profile of separase depends on the abilities of two of its binding proteins, securin and cyclin B1, to inhibit its protease activity and target it to chromosomes. Subsequent to its proteolytic activation, separase then binds to and inhibits a subset of cyclin B1-cdk1, which antagonizes cdk1-mediated phosphorylation on chromosomes and facilitates poleward movement of sisters in anaphase. Therefore, by consecutively acting as a protease and a cdk1 inhibitor, separase coordinates two key processes to achieve simultaneous and abrupt separation of sister chromatids.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Developmental Biology
- Cell Biology