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Trends Cell Biol. 2006 Feb;16(2):70-8. Epub 2006 Jan 18.

Centromere formation: from epigenetics to self-assembly.

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Department of Biochemistry, Stanford University, Beckman Building, Rm. 409, 279 Campus Drive, Stanford, CA 94305-5307, USA.


This review is part of the Chromosome segregation and Aneuploidy series that focuses on the importance of chromosome segregation mechanisms in maintaining genome stability. Centromeres are specialized chromosomal domains that serve as the foundation for the mitotic kinetochore, the interaction site between the chromosome and the mitotic spindle. The chromatin of centromeres is distinguished from other chromosomal loci by the unique incorporation of the centromeric histone H3 variant, centromere protein A. Here, we review the genetic and epigenetic factors that control the formation and maintenance of centromeric chromatin and propose a chromatin self-assembly model for organizing the higher-order structure of the centromere.

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