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Chromosome Res. 2011 Nov;19(8):969-78. doi: 10.1007/s10577-011-9247-y. Epub 2011 Nov 8.

Functional centromeres in Astragalus sinicus include a compact centromere-specific histone H3 and a 20-bp tandem repeat.

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Institute of Plant Science and Resources, Okayama University, Kurashiki, 710-0046, Japan.


The centromere plays an essential role for proper chromosome segregation during cell division and usually harbors long arrays of tandem repeated satellite DNA sequences. Although this function is conserved among eukaryotes, the sequences of centromeric DNA repeats are variable. Most of our understanding of functional centromeres, which are defined by localization of a centromere-specific histone H3 (CENH3) protein, comes from model organisms. The components of the functional centromere in legumes are poorly known. The genus Astragalus is a member of the legumes and bears the largest numbers of species among angiosperms. Therefore, we studied the components of centromeres in Astragalus sinicus. We identified the CenH3 homolog of A. sinicus, AsCenH3 that is the most compact in size among higher eukaryotes. A CENH3-based assay revealed the functional centromeric DNA sequences from A. sinicus, called CentAs. The CentAs repeat is localized in A. sinicus centromeres, and comprises an AT-rich tandem repeat with a monomer size of 20 nucleotides.

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