Plant condensin II is required for the correct spatial relationship between centromeres and rDNA arrays

Plants possess the structural maintenance of chromosome (SMC) protein complexes cohesin, condensin, and SMC5/6, which function in fundamental biological processes such as sister chromatid cohesion, chromosome condensation and segregation, and damaged DNA repair. Recently, increasing evidence in several organisms has suggested that condensin is involved in chromatin organizations during interphase. In Arabidopsis thaliana, condensin II is localized in the nucleus throughout interphase and is suggested to be required for keeping centromeres apart and the assembly of euchromatic chromosome arms. However, it remains unclear how condensin II organizes chromatin associations. Here, we first showed the high possibility that the function of condensin II as a complex is required for the disassociation of centromeres. Analysis of the rDNA array distribution revealed that condensin II is also indispensable for the association of centromeres with rDNA arrays. Reduced axial compaction of chromosomes and impaired genome integrity in condensin II mutants are not related to the disruption of chromatin organization. In contrast, the axial compaction of chromosomes by condensin II produces the force leading to the disassociation of heterologous centromeres in Drosophila melanogaster. Taken together, our data imply that the condensin II function in chromatin organization differs among eukaryotes.