Cell Rep 2020 05;31(7):107647
Department of Cell Biology, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Electronic address:
The NIPBL/MAU2 heterodimer loads cohesin onto chromatin. Mutations in NIPBL account for most cases of the rare developmental disorder Cornelia de Lange syndrome (CdLS). Here we report a MAU2 variant causing CdLS, a deletion of seven amino acids that impairs the interaction between MAU2 and the NIPBL N terminus. Investigating this interaction, we discovered that MAU2 and the NIPBL N terminus are largely dispensable for normal cohesin and NIPBL function in cells with a NIPBL early truncating mutation. Despite a predicted fatal outcome of an out-of-frame single nucleotide duplication in NIPBL, engineered in two different cell lines, alternative translation initiation yields a form of NIPBL missing N-terminal residues. This form cannot interact with MAU2, but binds DNA and mediates cohesin loading. Altogether, our work reveals that cohesin loading can occur independently of functional NIPBL/MAU2 complexes and highlights a novel mechanism protective against out-of-frame mutations that is potentially relevant for other genetic conditions.