Structural Maintenance of Chromosomes (SMC) proteins are one of the most fundamental classes of chromosomal organizers in all organisms, from bacteria to humans. They are involved in a wide variety of chromosomal events, including mitosis, meiosis, DNA repair and global gene regulation. This EMBO workshop brings together life scientists from different disciplines, from structural biology to human genetics, with a common interest in understanding how SMC proteins work and how their dysfunction is linked to human disease.
Twenty years have passed since the initial discovery of SMC proteins was announced. During the first decade of SMC research, a remarkable series of discoveries using traditional model organisms elucidated their basic cellular functions and completely revised our previous view on higher-order chromosome dynamics. In the following decade, we have witnessed a series of unexpected links between SMC dysfunctions and human developmental syndromes. Equally exciting is the recent finding that subunits of cohesin are frequently mutated in several types of cancer. A huge gap in our understanding remains, however, between basic cell biology of SMC complexes and the etiology of the human diseases. To help bridge his gap, the workshop aims to stimulate discussion and foster synergies among scientists looking at SMC proteins from very different perspectives, using a variety of model organisms and methodologies. Topics include Structural Biology of SMC complexes, Mitotic chromosome organization, Meiosis, DNA damage repair, Interphase chromatin architecture, Regulation of gene expression and Disease mechanisms. The programme will provide ample opportunities for discussion in informal settings and for junior scientists and graduate students to exchange ideas with leaders in the field. There will be two poster sessions and short talks will be selected from abstracts.