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Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2008 Feb;20(1):91-100. doi: 10.1016/j.ceb.2007.11.007. Epub 2008 Jan 15.

The histone variant CENP-A and centromere specification.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics and Program in Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA. blackbe@mail.med.upenn.edu

Abstract

The centromere is the chromosomal locus that guides faithful inheritance. Centromeres are specified epigenetically, and the histone H3 variant CENP-A has emerged as the best candidate to carry the epigenetic centromere mark. Recent advances demonstrate the physical basis for this epigenetic mark whereby CENP-A confers conformational rigidity to the nucleosome it forms with other core histones. This nucleosome is recognized by a multisubunit complex of constitutive centromere proteins, termed the CENP-A(NAC). Evidence from two CENP-A relatives in diverse eukaryotes suggests that the histone complexes they form adopt highly unconventional arrangements on DNA. Centromere identity, itself, is propagated during mitotic exit and early G1, and it relies upon a cis-acting targeting domain within CENP-A and a proposed centromere 'priming' reaction.

PMID:
18226513
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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