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About me

Professor in Cell and Tumour biology.

Faculty representative, Board of research, Karolinska Institute.



1999-2001 Postdoctoral fellow, Prof. Kim Nasmyth’s group, Institute of Molecular Pahtology (IMP), Vienna, Austria.          

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

Chromosome dynamics and genome stability

The molecular mechanisms that control chromosome dynamics and maintain genome stability are essential for life and prevent accumulation of disease-promoting chromosomal aberrations. With the aim to decipher these mechanisms, our projects focus on the evolutionary conserved family of SMC protein complexes (SMC: Structural Maintenance of Chromosomes) which we investigate using the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae model organism, and biochemical and structural in vitro analysis.    

Considered as an entity, the eukaryotic complexes cohesin, condensin and the Smc5/6 complex control most chromosome-based processes, including replication, segregation, repair and transcription. While it has become increasingly clear that SMC complexes act by structurally organizing chromosomes, their exact modes of action remain unclear. This is especially true for the Smc5/6 complex, which is the main object of investigation in our team.

The Smc5/6 complex has mainly been functionally connected with DNA repair and recombination, and we have analyzed this function in both mitotic and meiotic cells. We have also shown that Smc5/6 has a non-repair function, and accumulates on replicated chromosomes in unchallenged cells. Intriguingly, this enrichment increases in linear correlation with the length of the chromosomes, and our investigations show that this is due to a functional connection between the Smc5/6 complex and DNA supercoiling. Supercoiling is the under- or over-twisting of the DNA double helix, and arises when the replication or transcription machineries pry the helix apart. If enzymes called topoisomerases do not remove the supercoils, they inhibit replication and transcription, and increase the risk of genomic instability. Our ongoing investigations aim to understand how transcription- and replication-induced supercoiling influences the function of SMC complexes, chromosome dynamics and genome stability. We also investigate the role of Smc5/6 and supercoiling in the control of Hepatitis B virus, and that of DNA supercoiling and topoisomerases in segregation of mitochondrial DNA in a collaborative project headed by Dr. Maria Falkenberg at Gothenburg University.

Academic honours, awards and prizes

2017 Center for Innovative Medicine, CIMED, Senior Investigator   

2014 Nicholson lecturer at Rockefeller University, NY, USA

2013 Member of Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences, Class of Medical Sciences

2008 Member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) 

2008 European Ressearch council (ERC) starting grant

2008 Fernströms prize to young researchers

2007 Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences Research Fellow in Medical sciences 



14-3-3 proteins activate Pseudomonas exotoxins-S and -T by chaperoning a hydrophobic surface
Karlberg T, Hornyak P, Pinto Af, Milanova S, Ebrahimi M, Lindberg M, et al
Nature communications 2018;9(1):3785-

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

2018-present Member of steering committee, Dept. of Biosciences and Nutrition

Commissions of trust

2017-present  Member of scientific advisory board for Institute of Quantitative Biosciences, University of Tokyo, Japan,

2016-present Member of scientific advisory board for "Chromsome OS" a Grant-In-Aid Scientific Research Area,  Japan,

2014-2018 Evaluator of Ragnar Söderbergs Fellows in Medicine

2009-2018 Member of Swedish National committee for Molecular Biosciences

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.