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Mob Genet Elements. 2011 Sep;1(3):203-207. Epub 2011 Sep 1.

Association of a centromere specific nucleosome with the yeast plasmid partitioning locus: Implications beyond plasmid partitioning.

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  • Section of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology; University of Texas at Austin; Austin, TX USA.


The genetically defined point centromeres of budding yeasts and the epigenetically specified regional centromeres of all other eukaryotes harbor a common epigenetic mark in the form of a non-standard nucleosome. Although, the composition of the protein core of the centromere specific nucleosome and the nature of the DNA wrap around it are at present controversial, there is no doubt that this specialized nucleosome harbors a variant of the standard histone H3 (cenH3). The association of cenH3, called Cse4 in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, with the partitioning locus (STB) of the high copy selfish plasmid 2 micron circle that resides in the yeast nucleus and propagates itself stably is intriguing. Recent observations are consistent with Cse4 being a nucleosome component at STB. A common nucleosome identity for the partitioning loci of the chromosomes and the plasmid of yeast support arguments based on evolutionary considerations that the origin of the unusual point centromere of budding yeasts may be traced to the STB locus of an ancestral plasmid.

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