The multi-functional Smc5/6 complex in genome protection and disease

Xiao P. Peng, Xiaolan Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Structural maintenance of chromosomes (SMC) complexes are ubiquitous genome regulators with a wide range of functions. Among the three types of SMC complexes in eukaryotes, cohesin and condensin fold the genome into different domains and structures, while Smc5/6 plays direct roles in promoting chromosomal replication and repair and in restraining pathogenic viral extra-chromosomal DNA. The importance of Smc5/6 for growth, genotoxin resistance and host defense across species is highlighted by its involvement in disease prevention in plants and animals. Accelerated progress in recent years, including structural and single-molecule studies, has begun to provide greater insights into the mechanisms underlying Smc5/6 functions. Here we integrate a broad range of recent studies on Smc5/6 to identify emerging features of this unique SMC complex and to explain its diverse cellular functions and roles in disease pathogenesis. We also highlight many key areas requiring further investigation for achieving coherent views of Smc5/6-driven mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)724-734
Number of pages11
JournalNature Structural and Molecular Biology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Structural Biology


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