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Cold Spring Harb Symp Quant Biol. 2017;82:173-185. doi: 10.1101/sqb.2017.82.034512. Epub 2018 Mar 7.

Nucleosome-Dependent Pathways That Control Mitotic Progression.

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Laboratory of Chromosome and Cell Biology, The Rockefeller University, New York, New York 10065.


The majority of eukaryotic chromosomal DNA exists in the form of nucleosomes, where ∼147 bp DNA wraps around histone hetero-octamers, composed of histone H3, H4, H2A, and H2B. Despite their obvious importance in DNA compaction and accessibility, studying their specific roles, such as regulation of mitotic progression, in a physiological environment is associated with critical caveats because of their major contributions in transcriptional control. Through establishing a method to deplete endogenous histones H3 and H4 from frog egg extracts and complementing their functions using recombinant nucleosome arrays, we are now able to analyze their roles in mitotic progression without affecting overall transcriptomic profiles. Here we summarize advancements learned from this system, illustrating that microtubule and nuclear envelope assembly can be regulated by two major nucleosome-bound protein complexes, RCC1-Ran and the chromosomal passenger complex (CPC) containing the mitotic protein kinase Aurora B. We also discuss roles of the CPC on the proteomic composition of mitotic chromatin. The CPC promotes dissociation of a variety of nucleosome remodelers and DNA repair pathway proteins, suggesting its role in suppressing DNA processing activities on mitotic chromosomes. We speculate that this suppression particularly on chromosomes under microtubule tension may be important to preserve genome integrity.


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