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Genomics. 2002 Mar;79(3):297-304.

Efficiency of de novo centromere formation in human artificial chromosomes.

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Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford, Oxford, OX3 7BN, UK.


In a comparative study, we show that human artificial chromosome (HAC) vectors based on alpha-satellite (alphoid) DNA from chromosome 17 but not the Y chromosome regularly form HACs in HT1080 human cells. We constructed four structurally similar HAC vectors, two with chromosome 17 or Y alphoid DNA (17alpha, Yalpha) and two with 17alpha or Yalpha and the hypoxanthine guanine phosphoribosyltransferase locus (HPRT1). The 17alpha HAC vectors generated artificial minichromosomes in 32-79% of the HT1080 clones screened, compared with only approximately 4% for the Yalpha HAC vectors, indicating that Yalpha is inefficient at forming a de novo centromere. The 17alpha HAC vectors produced megabase-sized, circular HACs containing multiple copies of alphoid fragments (60-250 kb) interspersed with either vector or HPRT1 DNA. The 17alpha-HPRT1 HACs were less stable than those with 17alpha only, and these results may influence the design of new HAC gene transfer vectors.

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