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J Cell Biol. 2008 May 19;181(4):587-94. doi: 10.1083/jcb.200803027. Epub 2008 May 12.

Molecular architecture of the kinetochore-microtubule attachment site is conserved between point and regional centromeres.

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  • 1Department of Biology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA.


Point and regional centromeres specify a unique site on each chromosome for kinetochore assembly. The point centromere in budding yeast is a unique 150-bp DNA sequence, which supports a kinetochore with only one microtubule attachment. In contrast, regional centromeres are complex in architecture, can be up to 5 Mb in length, and typically support many kinetochore-microtubule attachments. We used quantitative fluorescence microscopy to count the number of core structural kinetochore protein complexes at the regional centromeres in fission yeast and Candida albicans. We find that the number of CENP-A nucleosomes at these centromeres reflects the number of kinetochore-microtubule attachments instead of their length. The numbers of kinetochore protein complexes per microtubule attachment are nearly identical to the numbers in a budding yeast kinetochore. These findings reveal that kinetochores with multiple microtubule attachments are mainly built by repeating a conserved structural subunit that is equivalent to a single microtubule attachment site.

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