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Mol Cell. 2009 Feb 13;33(3):287-98. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2009.01.017.

Fission yeast Scm3 mediates stable assembly of Cnp1/CENP-A into centromeric chromatin.

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Department of Molecular Biology, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA 90237, USA.


Mis16 and Mis18 are subunits of a protein complex required for incorporation of the histone H3 variant CenH3 (Cnp1/CENP-A) into centromeric chromatin in Schizosaccharomyces pombe and mammals. How the Mis16-Mis18 complex performs this function is unknown. Here, we report that the Mis16-Mis18 complex is required for centromere localization of Scm3(Sp), a Cnp1-binding protein related to Saccharomyces cerevisiae Scm3. Scm3(Sp) is required for centromeric localization of Cnp1, while Scm3(Sp) localizes at centromeres independently of Cnp1. Like the Mis16-Mis18 complex but unlike Cnp1, Scm3(Sp) dissociates from centromeres during mitosis. Inactivation of Scm3(Sp) or Mis18 increases centromere localization of histones H3 and H2A/H2B, which are largely absent from centromeres in wild-type cells. Whereas S. cerevisiae Scm3 is proposed to replace histone H2A/H2B in centromeric nucleosomes, the dynamic behavior of S. pombe Scm3 suggests that it acts as a Cnp1 assembly/maintenance factor that directly mediates the stable deposition of Cnp1 into centromeric chromatin.

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