The structural maintenance of chromosomes (SMC) family member proteins previously were shown to play a critical role in mitotic chromosome condensation and segregation in yeast and Xenopus. Other family members were demonstrated to be required for DNA repair in yeast and mammals. Although several different SMC proteins were identified in different organisms, little is known about the SMC proteins in humans. Here, we report the identification of four human SMC proteins that form two distinct heterodimeric complexes in the cell, the human chromosome-associated protein (hCAP)-C and hCAP-E protein complex (hCAP-C/hCAP-E), and the human SMC1 (hSMC1) and hSMC3 protein complex (hSMC1/hSMC3). The hCAP-C/hCAP-E complex is the human ortholog of the Xenopus chromosome-associated protein (XCAP)-C/XCAP-E complex required for mitotic chromosome condensation. We found that a second complex, hSMC1/hSMC3, is required for metaphase progression in mitotic cells. Punctate vs. diffuse distribution patterns of the hCAP-C/hCAP-E and hSMC1/hSMC3 complexes in the interphase nucleus indicate independent behaviors of the two complexes during the cell cycle. These results suggest that two distinct classes of SMC protein complexes are involved in different aspects of mitotic chromosome organization in human cells.
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