The Nowacki lab investigated the role played by Structural Maintenance of Chromosome (SMC) proteins in genome rearrangment in ciliates. Out of these group of ATPases the protein SMC4-2 is required for genome rearrangement while its paralog SMC4-1 is not. Their paper "Structural maintenance of chromosomes (SMC) proteins are required for DNA elimination in Paramecium" has been published in Life Science Aliance.
Chromosome (SMC) proteins are a large family of ATPases that play important roles in the organization and dynamics of chromatin. They are central regulators of chromosome dynamics and the core component of condensin. DNA elimination during zygotic somatic genome development is a characteristic feature of ciliated protozoa such as Paramecium This process occurs after meiosis, mitosis, karyogamy, and another mitosis, which result in the formation of a new germline and somatic nuclei. The series of nuclear divisions implies an important role of SMC proteins in Paramecium sexual development. The relationship between DNA elimination and SMC has not yet been described. Here, we applied RNA interference, genome sequencing, mRNA sequencing, immunofluorescence, and mass spectrometry to investigate the roles of SMC components in DNA elimination. Our results show that SMC4-2 is required for genome rearrangement, whereas SMC4-1 is not. Functional diversification of SMC4 in Paramecium led to a formation of two paralogues where SMC4-2 acquired a novel, development-specific function and differs from SMC4-1. Moreover, our study suggests a competitive relationship between these two proteins.