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Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2001 Apr;11(2):182-8.

A solid foundation: functional specialization of centromeric chromatin.

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Department of Cell Biology, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California 92037, USA.


Centromeres provide a distinctive mechanical function for the chromosomes as the site of kinetochore assembly and force generation in mitosis and meiosis. Recent studies show that a unique form of chromatin, based on the histone-H3-like protein CENP-A and homologues, provides a conserved foundation for this mechanical chromatin domain. CENP-A plays a role in templating kinetochore assembly and may be a central element in the epigenetic maintenance of centromere identity. Cohesion at the centromere, intimately linked to kinetochore assembly, is required for integrating spindle forces exerted across the centromere and for establishing the bipolar geometry of sister kinetochores.

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