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Genome Biol. 2007;8(7):R148.

Co-localization of CENP-C and CENP-H to discontinuous domains of CENP-A chromatin at human neocentromeres.

Author information

  • 1Department of Genetics and Genomic Sciences, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, 1425 Madison Avenue, New York, New York 10029, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Mammalian centromere formation is dependent on chromatin that contains centromere protein (CENP)-A, which is the centromere-specific histone H3 variant. Human neocentromeres have acquired CENP-A chromatin epigenetically in ectopic chromosomal locations on low-copy complex DNA. Neocentromeres permit detailed investigation of centromeric chromatin organization that is not possible in the highly repetitive alpha satellite DNA present at endogenous centromeres.

RESULTS:

We have examined the distribution of CENP-A, as well as two additional centromeric chromatin-associated proteins (CENP-C and CENP-H), across neocentromeric DNA using chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) on CHIP assays on custom genomic microarrays at three different resolutions. Analysis of two neocentromeres using a contiguous bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) microarray spanning bands 13q31.3 to 13q33.1 shows that both CENP-C and CENP-H co-localize to the CENP-A chromatin domain. Using a higher resolution polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-amplicon microarray spanning the neocentromere, we find that the CENP-A chromatin is discontinuous, consisting of a major domain of about 87.8 kilobases (kb) and a minor domain of about 13.2 kb, separated by an approximately 158 kb region devoid of CENPs. Both CENP-A domains exhibit co-localization of CENP-C and CENP-H, defining a distinct inner kinetochore chromatin structure that is consistent with higher order chromatin looping models at centromeres. The PCR microarray data suggested varying density of CENP-A nucleosomes across the major domain, which was confirmed using a higher resolution oligo-based microarray.

CONCLUSION:

Centromeric chromatin consists of several CENP-A subdomains with highly discontinuous CENP-A chromatin at both the level of individual nucleosomes and at higher order chromatin levels, raising questions regarding the overall structure of centromeric chromatin.

PMID:
17651496
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2323242
Free PMC Article

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