Legros P, Malapert A, Niinuma S, Bernard P, Vanoosthuyse V
Condensin-mediated chromosome condensation is essential for genome stability upon cell division. Genetic studies have indicated that the association of condensin with chromatin is intimately linked to gene transcription, but what transcription-associated feature(s) direct(s) the accumulation of condensin remains unclear. Here we show in fission yeast that condensin becomes strikingly enriched at RNA Pol III-transcribed genes when Swd2.2 and Sen1, two factors involved in the transcription process, are simultaneously deleted. Sen1 is an ATP-dependent helicase whose orthologue in Saccharomyces cerevisiae contributes both to terminate transcription of some RNA Pol II transcripts and to antagonize the formation of DNA:RNA hybrids in the genome. Using two independent mapping techniques, we show that DNA:RNA hybrids form in abundance at Pol III-transcribed genes in fission yeast but we demonstrate that they are unlikely to faciliate the recruitment of condensin. Instead, we show that Sen1 forms a stable and abundant complex with RNA Pol III and that Swd2.2 and Sen1 antagonize both the interaction of RNA Pol III with chromatin and RNA Pol III-dependent transcription. When Swd2.2 and Sen1 are lacking, the increased concentration of RNA Pol III and condensin at Pol III-transcribed genes is accompanied by the accumulation of topoisomerase I and II and by local nucleosome depletion, suggesting that Pol III-transcribed genes suffer topological stress. We provide evidence that this topological stress contributes to recruit and/or stabilize condensin at Pol III-transcribed genes in the absence of Swd2.2 and Sen1. Our data challenge the idea that a processive RNA polymerase hinders the binding of condensin and suggest that transcription-associated topological stress could in some circumstances facilitate the association of condensin.