2018 AMI Online Salon

Condensin motor: A driving force for chromatin organization

Project Details

  • Artist(s):  Chris Bickel; Ashland, Virginia
  • Client: Science Magazine
  • Copyright: © 2017 AAAS
  • Medium / software used: Cinema 4D, Chimera, ePMV, Adobe Photoshop
  • Final presentation format: Journal cover
  • Primary audience: Research scientists

Project Description

The condensin protein complex (teal) motors along DNA (grayish white) over distances of thousands of base pairs, using hydrolysis to fuel its linear motion. Condensin’s ability to drag DNA along as it moves can explain how chromatin fibers are folded into the rod-shaped mitotic chromosomes.

Condensin plays crucial roles in chromosome organization and compaction. Terrakawa et al. used single-molecule imaging to demonstrate that Saccharomyces cerevisiae condensin is a molecular motor capable of adenosine triphosphate hydrolysis–dependent translocation along double-stranded DNA. Condensin’s translocation activity is rapid, with individual complexes traveling an average distance of ≥10 kilobases at a velocity of ~60 base pairs per second. This finding that condensin is a mechanochemical motor has important implications for understanding the mechanisms of chromosome organization and condensation.