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About me

Professor in cell and tumour biology.

Faculty representative, Board of research, Karolinska Institute.

As faculty representative I consider that one of my central missions is to work towards the development distinct and transparent processes for recruitment, career development and distribution of faculty funds. All with the overall aim to promote high quality research at Karolinska Institutet.


1997  PhD in Natural Sciences, Department of Cell Biology, Wenner-Gren Institute, Stockholm University, Sweden

1990  Master degree in Natural Sciences, Department of Cell Biology, Wenner-Gren Institute, Stockholm University, Sweden

Research description

The molecular mechanisms which maintain genome stability are essential for life and prevent accumulation of disease-promoting chromosomal aberrations. With the aim to decipher these mechanisms, our project focuses on the evolutionary conserved family of SMC protein complexes (SMC: Structural Maintenance of Chromosomes).

There are three eukaryotic complexes: cohesin, condensin and the Smc5/6 complex. The majority of our ongoing investigations aim to disclose the function of the Smc5/6 complex, which is the least well understood. We do this using the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae as model organism.

The Smc5/6 complex has mainly been functionally connected with DNA repair and we have found that it is recruited to DNA breaks where it activates cohesin. We have also shown that Smc5/6 binds to chromosomes as a consequence of DNA replication. Intriguingly, the frequency of Smc5/6 binding sites increases in linear correlation with the length of chromosomes, and we have unraveled a function for Smc5/6 in the resolution of replication-induced topological tension. This tension arises when the replication machinery pries apart the parental double-helix into single DNA strands. If the tension is not removed, it will lead to replication fork blockage which increases the risk of genomic rearrangements. Our more recent results suggest that topological tension also could have a positive role in the organization of chromosomes, executed via the SMC complexes.

Academic honours, awards and prizes

2014   Nicholson lecturer at Rockefeller University, NY, USA                   

2008   European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant                 

2008   Fernströms prize to young researchers                     

2007   Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences Research Fellow in Medical sciences     

2002   Junior research position grant, Swedish Research Council                 

1998   Postdoctoral fellowship by The Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and    Higher Education (STINT)



DNA Supercoiling, Topoisomerases, and Cohesin: Partners in Regulating Chromatin Architecture?
Björkegren C, Baranello L
International journal of molecular sciences 2018;19(3):-

DNA binding to SMC ATPases-trapped for release
Schüler H, Sjögren C
The EMBO journal 2016;35(7):703-5

Sister Chromatid Cohesion Establishment Factor ESCO1 Operates by Substrate-Assisted Catalysis
Kouznetsova E, Kanno T, Karlberg T, Thorsell Ag, Wisniewska M, Kursula P, et al
Structure (London, England : 1993) 2016;24(5):789-796

Mec1-dependent phosphorylation of Mms21 modulates its SUMO ligase activity
Carlborg Kk, Kanno T, Carter Sd, Sjögren C
DNA repair 2015;28():83-92

The Smc5/6 Complex Is an ATP-Dependent Intermolecular DNA Linker
Kanno T, Berta Dg, Sjögren C
Cell reports 2015;12(9):1471-82

Introduction. DNA damage and repair
Sjögren C, Tarsounas M, Bartek J, Höög C
Experimental cell research 2014;329(1):1-

The chromosomal association of the Smc5/6 complex depends on cohesion and predicts the level of sister chromatid entanglement
Jeppsson K, Carlborg Kk, Nakato R, Berta Dg, Lilienthal I, Kanno T, et al
PLoS genetics 2014;10(10):e1004680-

The maintenance of chromosome structure: positioning and functioning of SMC complexes
Jeppsson K, Kanno T, Shirahige K, Sjögren C
Nature reviews. Molecular cell biology 2014;15(9):601-14

Inhibition of the Smc5/6 complex during meiosis perturbs joint molecule formation and resolution without significantly changing crossover or non-crossover levels
Lilienthal I, Kanno T, Sjögren C
PLoS genetics 2013;9(11):e1003898-

During Replication Stress, Non-Smc Element 5 (Nse5) Is Required for Smc5/6 Protein Complex Functionality at Stalled Forks
Bustard De, Menolfi D, Jeppsson K, Ball Lg, Dewey Sc, Shirahige K, et al

New temptations in SMC research
Sjögren C
Nature reviews. Molecular cell biology 2012;13(5):282-

The SMC complexes, DNA and chromosome topology: right or knot?
Carter Sd, Sjogren C

Bacterial genotoxin triggers FEN1-dependent RhoA activation, cytoskeleton remodeling and cell survival
Guerra L, Guidi R, Slot I, Callegari S, Sompallae R, Pickett Cl, et al
JOURNAL OF CELL SCIENCE 2011;124(16):2735-42

Chromosome length influences replication-induced topological stress
Kegel A, Betts-lindroos H, Kanno T, Jeppsson K, Strom L, Katou Y, et al
NATURE 2011;471(7338):392-6

S-phase and DNA damage activated establishment of Sister chromatid cohesion-importance for DNA repair
Sjogren C, Strom L

The SMC5/6 complex and replication-induced topological stress
Kegel A, Lindroos Hb, Kanno T, Jeppsson K, Strom L, Shirahige K, et al
FEBS JOURNAL 2010;:30-30

The Smc5/6 complex: more than repair?
Kegel A, Sjögren C
Cold Spring Harbor symposia on quantitative biology 2010;75():179-87

Chromosome segregation and double-strand break repair - a complex connection
Strom L, Sjogren C

DNA damage-induced sister chromatid cohesion
Sjogren C, Shirahige K, Karlsson C, Strom L
FASEB JOURNAL 2007;21(5):A95-A95

Postreplicative formation of cohesion is required for repair and induced by a single DNA break
Strom L, Karlsson C, Lindroos Hb, Wedahl S, Katou Y, Shirahige K, et al
SCIENCE 2007;317(5835):242-5

Chromosomal association of the Smc5/6 complex reveals that it functions in differently regulated pathways
Lindroos Hb, Strom L, Itoh T, Katou Y, Shirahige K, Sjogren C
MOLECULAR CELL 2006;22(6):755-67

DNA damage-induced cohesion
Strom L, Sjogren C
CELL CYCLE 2005;4(4):536-9

Postreplicative recruitment of cohesin to double-strand breaks is required for DNA repair
Strom L, Lindroos Hb, Shirahige K, Sjogren C
MOLECULAR CELL 2004;16(6):1003-15

Sister chromatid cohesion is required for postreplicative double-strand break repair in Saccharomyces cerevisiae
Sjogren C, Nasmyth K
CURRENT BIOLOGY 2001;11(12):991-5

The role of profilin in actin polymerization and nucleotide exchange
Korenbaum E, Nordberg P, Bjorkegren-sjogren C, Schutt Ce, Lindberg U, Karlsson R
BIOCHEMISTRY 1998;37(26):9274-83

Characterization of a mutant profilin with reduced actin-binding capacity: effects in vitro and in vivo
Hájková L, Björkegren Sjögren C, Korenbaum E, Nordberg P, Karlsson R
Experimental cell research 1997;234(1):66-77

Isolation and characterization of two mutants of human profilin I that do not bind poly(L-proline)
Björkegren-sjögren C, Korenbaum E, Nordberg P, Lindberg U, Karlsson R
FEBS letters 1997;418(3):258-64

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Institutional responsibilties

2012-present Faculty representative at the Karolinska Institutet’s Board of Research                    

2005-present Vice chairman, Dept. of Cell and Molecular Biology, Karolinska Insitutet

2008-2011 Board member, Swedish society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (SFBBM)


Commissions of trust

2009-2014  Member of Swedish Cancer Foundation project grant evaluation panel, panel vice chair 2011-2012, chair 2013-2014.

2009-2012  Member of starting grant evaluation panel, European Research Council, panel vice chair 2011-2012.

2008  Member of evaluation panel, Swedish Research Council. Project grant applications.  

2002-present Evaluator of candidates for EMBO fellowships, two professorships at University of Copenhagen, and two Wellcome Trust grant applications. Guest Editor for Experimental Cell Research, special issue on DNA repair, Reviewer of manuscripts submitted to Science, EMBO reports, EMBO Journal, Molecular Cell, Current Biology, Genes and Development, Nucleic Acid Research, Journal of Clinical Investigation, and more