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Cell. 1994 Dec 2;79(5):865-74.

A novel epigenetic effect can alter centromere function in fission yeast.

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Department of Biological Sciences, University of California, Santa Barbara 93106.


A novel epigenetic mechanism that can affect minichromosome centromere function in vivo has been identified in S. pombe. This epigenetic system can result in the conversion of a nonfunctional centromere to a functional one without changes in the content, structural arrangement, or chemical modification state of the minichromosomal DNA. The conversion from a centromere-inactive to an active state, which is evident with minichromosomes carrying abbreviated centromeric DNA constructions, occurs with a relatively high frequency during mitotic cell divisions and readily provides an in vivo assay for proper centromere formation. The centromere-targeted epigenetic system supports a model for centromere function that involves specific de novo folding of centromeric components into a higher order chromatin structure.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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