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Mol Biol Cell. 2011 Sep;22(17):3094-102. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E11-03-0258. Epub 2011 Jul 7.

Mi-2/NuRD complex function is required for normal S phase progression and assembly of pericentric heterochromatin.

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  • 1Laboratory of Molecular Carcinogenesis, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709, USA.


During chromosome duplication, it is essential to replicate not only the DNA sequence, but also the complex nucleoprotein structures of chromatin. Pericentric heterochromatin is critical for silencing repetitive elements and plays an essential structural role during mitosis. However, relatively little is understood about its assembly and maintenance during replication. The Mi2/NuRD chromatin remodeling complex tightly associates with actively replicating pericentric heterochromatin, suggesting a role in its assembly. Here we demonstrate that depletion of the catalytic ATPase subunit CHD4/Mi-2β in cells with a dampened DNA damage response results in a slow-growth phenotype characterized by delayed progression through S phase. Furthermore, we observe defects in pericentric heterochromatin maintenance and assembly. Our data suggest that chromatin assembly defects are sensed by an ATM-dependent intra-S phase chromatin quality checkpoint, resulting in a temporal block to the transition from early to late S phase. These findings implicate Mi-2β in the maintenance of chromatin structure and proper cell cycle progression.

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