National Center for
4X23: CRYSTAL STRUCTURE OF CENP-C IN COMPLEX WITH THE NUCLEOSOME CORE PARTICLE
Science (2013) 340 p.1110-1113
Chromosome segregation during mitosis requires assembly of the kinetochore complex at the centromere. Kinetochore assembly depends on specific recognition of the histone variant CENP-A in the centromeric nucleosome by centromere protein C (CENP-C). We have defined the determinants of this recognition mechanism and discovered that CENP-C binds a hydrophobic region in the CENP-A tail and docks onto the acidic patch of histone H2A and H2B. We further found that the more broadly conserved CENP-C motif uses the same mechanism for CENP-A nucleosome recognition. Our findings reveal a conserved mechanism for protein recruitment to centromeres and a histone recognition mode whereby a disordered peptide binds the histone tail through hydrophobic interactions facilitated by nucleosome docking.