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Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol. 2015 Jul 1;7(7):a018770. doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a018770.

Epigenetic Regulation of Chromatin States in Schizosaccharomyces pombe.

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Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell Biology, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH9 3JR, Scotland, United Kingdom.
Department of Biosciences and Nutrition, Karolinska Institutet, Center for Biosciences, NOVUM, S-141 83, Huddinge, Sweden.


This article discusses the advances made in epigenetic research using the model organism fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe. S. pombe has been used for epigenetic research since the discovery of position effect variegation (PEV). This is a phenomenon in which a transgene inserted within heterochromatin is variably expressed, but can be stably inherited in subsequent cell generations. PEV occurs at centromeres, telomeres, ribosomal DNA (rDNA) loci, and mating-type regions of S. pombe chromosomes. Heterochromatin assembly in these regions requires enzymes that modify histones and the RNA interference (RNAi) machinery. One of the key histone-modifying enzymes is the lysine methyltransferase Clr4, which methylates histone H3 on lysine 9 (H3K9), a classic hallmark of heterochromatin. The kinetochore is assembled on specialized chromatin in which histone H3 is replaced by the variant CENP-A. Studies in fission yeast have contributed to our understanding of the establishment and maintenance of CENP-A chromatin and the epigenetic activation and inactivation of centromeres.

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