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Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2011 May;12(5):320-32. doi: 10.1038/nrm3107.

Centromeres: unique chromatin structures that drive chromosome segregation.

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  • 1Department of Biology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599, USA.


Fidelity during chromosome segregation is essential to prevent aneuploidy. The proteins and chromatin at the centromere form a unique site for kinetochore attachment and allow the cell to sense and correct errors during chromosome segregation. Centromeric chromatin is characterized by distinct chromatin organization, epigenetics, centromere-associated proteins and histone variants. These include the histone H3 variant centromeric protein A (CENPA), the composition and deposition of which have been widely investigated. Studies have examined the structural and biophysical properties of the centromere and have suggested that the centromere is not simply a 'landing pad' for kinetochore formation, but has an essential role in mitosis by assembling and directing the organization of the kinetochore.

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