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Mol Biol Cell. 2008 Feb;19(2):682-90. Epub 2007 Dec 12.

Biphasic incorporation of centromeric histone CENP-A in fission yeast.

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Division of Cell Biology, Institute of Life Science, Kurume University, Fukuoka 839-0864, Japan.


CENP-A is a centromere-specific histone H3 variant that is essential for kinetochore formation. Here, we report that the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe has at least two distinct CENP-A deposition phases across the cell cycle: S and G2. The S phase deposition requires Ams2 GATA factor, which promotes histone gene activation. In Delta ams2, CENP-A fails to retain during S, but it reaccumulates onto centromeres via the G2 deposition pathway, which is down-regulated by Hip1, a homologue of HIRA histone chaperon. Reducing the length of G2 in Delta ams2 results in failure of CENP-A accumulation, leading to chromosome missegregation. N-terminal green fluorescent protein-tagging reduces the centromeric association of CENP-A, causing cell death in Delta ams2 but not in wild-type cells, suggesting that the N-terminal tail of CENP-A may play a pivotal role in the formation of centromeric nucleosomes at G2. These observations imply that CENP-A is normally localized to centromeres in S phase in an Ams2-dependent manner and that the G2 pathway may salvage CENP-A assembly to promote genome stability. The flexibility of CENP-A incorporation during the cell cycle may account for the plasticity of kinetochore formation when the authentic centromere is damaged.

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