Condensin, a key member of the Structure Maintenance of Chromosome (SMC) protein complexes, has recently been shown to be a motor that extrudes loops of DNA. It remains unclear, however, how condensin complexes work together to collectively package DNA into the chromosomal architecture. Here, we use time-lapse single-molecule visualization to study mutual interactions between two DNA-loop-extruding yeast condensins. We find that these one-side-pulling motor proteins are able to dynamically change each other's DNA loop sizes, even when located large distances apart. When coming into close proximity upon forming a loop within a loop, condensin complexes are, surprisingly, able to traverse each other and form a new type of loop structure, which we term Z loop, three double-stranded DNA helices aligned in parallel with one condensin at each edge. These Z-loops can fill gaps left by single loops and can form symmetric dimer motors that reel in DNA from both sides. These new findings indicate that condensin may achieve chromosomal compaction using a variety of looping structures.
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