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Trends Cell Biol. 2004 Jul;14(7):359-68.

Building the centromere: from foundation proteins to 3D organization.

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  • 1Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Royal Children's Hospital, Flemington Road, Parkville, Melbourne, Victoria 3052, Australia.


At each mitosis, accurate segregation of every chromosome is ensured by the assembly of a kinetochore at each centromeric locus. Six foundation kinetochore proteins that assemble hierarchically and co-dependently have been identified in vertebrates. CENP-A, Mis12, CENP-C, CENP-H and CENP-I localize to a core domain of centromeric chromatin. The sixth protein, CENP-B, although not essential in higher eukaryotes, has homologues in fission yeast that bind pericentric DNA and are essential for heterochromatin formation. Foundation kinetochore proteins have various roles and mutual interactions, and their associations with centromeric DNA and heterochromatin create structural domains that support the different functions of the centromere. Advances in molecular and microscopic techniques, coupled with rare centromere variants, have enabled us to gain fresh insights into the linear and 3D organization of centromeric chromatin.

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