Human CENP-A contains a histone H3 related histone fold domain that is required for targeting to the centromere.
ABSTRACT: Centromeres are the differentiated chromosomal domains that specify the mitotic behavior of chromosomes. To examine the molecular basis for the specification of centromeric chromatin, we have cloned a human cDNA that encodes the 17-kD histone-like centromere antigen, CENP-A. Two domains are evident in the 140 aa CENP-A polypeptide: a unique NH2-terminal domain and a 93-amino acid COOH-terminal domain that shares 62% identity with nucleosomal core protein, histone H3. An epitope tagged derivative of CENP-A was faithfully targeted to centromeres when expressed in a variety of animal cells and this targeting activity was shown to reside in the histone-like COOH-terminal domain of CENP-A. These data clearly indicate that the assembly of centromeres is driven, at least in part, by the incorporation of a novel core histone into centromeric chromatin.
Project description:In vertebrate cells, centromeres are specified epigenetically through the deposition of the centromere-specific histone CENP-A. Following CENP-A deposition, additional proteins are assembled on centromeric chromatin. However, it remains unknown whether additional epigenetic features of centromeric chromatin are required for kinetochore assembly. Here, we used ChIP-seq analysis to examine centromere-specific histone modifications at chicken centromeres, which lack highly repetitive sequences. We found that H4K20 monomethylation (H4K20me1) is enriched at centromeres. Immunofluorescence and biochemical analyses revealed that H4K20me1 is present at all centromeres in chicken and human cells. Based on immunoprecipitation data, H4K20me1 occurs primarily on the histone H4 that is assembled as part of the CENP-A nucleosome following deposition of CENP-A into centromeres. Targeting the H4K20me1-specific demethylase PHF8 to centromeres reduces the level of H4K20me1 at centromeres and results in kinetochore assembly defects. We conclude that H4K20me1 modification of CENP-A nucleosomes contributes to functional kinetochore assembly.
Project description:The centromere is responsible for accurate chromosome segregation. Mammalian centromeres are specified epigenetically, with all active centromeres containing centromere-specific chromatin in which CENP-A replaces histone H3 within the nucleosome. The proteins responsible for assembly of human CENP-A into centromeric nucleosomes during the G1 phase of the cell cycle are shown here to be distinct from the chromatin assembly factors previously shown to load other histone H3 variants. Here we demonstrate that prenucleosomal CENP-A is complexed with histone H4, nucleophosmin 1, and HJURP. Recruitment of new CENP-A into nucleosomes at replicated centromeres is dependent on HJURP. Recognition by HJURP is mediated through the centromere targeting domain (CATD) of CENP-A, a region that we demonstrated previously to induce a unique conformational rigidity to both the subnucleosomal CENP-A heterotetramer and the corresponding assembled nucleosome. We propose HJURP to be a cell-cycle-regulated CENP-A-specific histone chaperone required for centromeric chromatin assembly.
Project description:The main chromatin unit, the nucleosome, can be modulated by the incorporation of histone variants that, in combination with posttranslational histones modifications, determine epigenetics properties of chromatin. Understanding the mechanism that creates a histone variants landscape at different genomic elements is expected to elevate our comprehension of chromatin assembly and function. The Daxx chaperone deposits transcription-associated histone H3.3 at centromeres, but mechanism of centromere-specific Daxx targeting remains unclear.In this study, we identified an unexpected function of the constitutive centromeric protein CENP-B that serves as a "beacon" for H3.3 incorporation. CENP-B depletion reduces Daxx association and H3.3 incorporation at centromeres. Daxx/CENP-B interaction and Daxx centromeric association are SUMO dependent and requires SIMs of Daxx. Depletion of SUMO-2, but not SUMO-1, decreases Daxx/CENP-B interaction and reduces centromeric accumulation of Daxx and H3.3, demonstrating distinct functions of SUMO paralogs in H3.3 chaperoning. Finally, disruption of CENP-B/Daxx-dependent H3.3 pathway deregulates heterochromatin marks H3K9me3, ATRX and HP1? at centromeres and elevates chromosome instability.The demonstrated roles of CENP-B and SUMO-2 in H3.3 loading reveal a novel mechanism controlling chromatin maintenance and genome stability. Given that CENP-B is the only centromere protein that binds centromere-specific DNA elements, our study provides a new link between centromere DNA and unique epigenetic landscape of centromere chromatin.
Project description:Centromeres are important structural constituents of chromosomes that ensure proper chromosome segregation during mitosis by providing defined sites for kinetochore attachment. In higher eukaryotes, centromeres have no specific DNA sequence and thus, they are rather determined through epigenetic mechanisms. A fundamental process in centromere establishment is the incorporation of the histone variant CENP-A into centromeric chromatin, which provides a binding platform for the other centromeric proteins. The Mis18 complex, and, in particular, its member M18BP1 was shown to be essential for both incorporation and maintenance of CENP-A. Here we show that M18BP1 displays a cell cycle-regulated association with centromeric chromatin in mouse embryonic stem cells. M18BP1 is highly enriched at centromeric regions from late anaphase through to G1 phase. An interaction screen against 16 core centromeric proteins revealed a novel interaction of M18BP1 with CENP-C. We mapped the interaction domain in M18BP1 to a central region containing a conserved SANT domain and in CENP-C to the C-terminus. Knock-down of CENP-C leads to reduced M18BP1 association and lower CENP-A levels at centromeres, suggesting that CENP-C works as an important factor for centromeric M18BP1 recruitment and thus for maintaining centromeric CENP-A.
Project description:The epigenetic mark of the centromere is thought to be a unique centromeric nucleosome that contains the histone H3 variant, centromere protein-A (CENP-A). The deposition of new centromeric nucleosomes requires the CENP-A-specific chromatin assembly factor HJURP (Holliday junction recognition protein). Crystallographic and biochemical data demonstrate that the Scm3-like domain of HJURP binds a single CENP-A-histone H4 heterodimer. However, several lines of evidence suggest that HJURP forms an octameric CENP-A nucleosome. How an octameric CENP-A nucleosome forms from individual CENP-A/histone H4 heterodimers is unknown. Here, we show that HJURP forms a homodimer through its C-terminal domain that includes the second HJURP_C domain. HJURP exists as a dimer in the soluble preassembly complex and at chromatin when new CENP-A is deposited. Dimerization of HJURP is essential for the deposition of new CENP-A nucleosomes. The recruitment of HJURP to centromeres occurs independent of dimerization and CENP-A binding. These data provide a mechanism whereby the CENP-A pre-nucleosomal complex achieves assembly of the octameric CENP-A nucleosome through the dimerization of the CENP-A chaperone HJURP.
Project description:CENP-A is a centromere-specific histone H3 variant that is essential for kinetochore formation. Here, we report that the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe has at least two distinct CENP-A deposition phases across the cell cycle: S and G2. The S phase deposition requires Ams2 GATA factor, which promotes histone gene activation. In Delta ams2, CENP-A fails to retain during S, but it reaccumulates onto centromeres via the G2 deposition pathway, which is down-regulated by Hip1, a homologue of HIRA histone chaperon. Reducing the length of G2 in Delta ams2 results in failure of CENP-A accumulation, leading to chromosome missegregation. N-terminal green fluorescent protein-tagging reduces the centromeric association of CENP-A, causing cell death in Delta ams2 but not in wild-type cells, suggesting that the N-terminal tail of CENP-A may play a pivotal role in the formation of centromeric nucleosomes at G2. These observations imply that CENP-A is normally localized to centromeres in S phase in an Ams2-dependent manner and that the G2 pathway may salvage CENP-A assembly to promote genome stability. The flexibility of CENP-A incorporation during the cell cycle may account for the plasticity of kinetochore formation when the authentic centromere is damaged.
Project description:Inheritance of each chromosome depends upon its centromere. A histone H3 variant, centromere protein A (CENP-A), is essential for epigenetically marking centromere location. We find that CENP-A is quantitatively retained at the centromere upon which it is initially assembled. CENP-C binds to CENP-A nucleosomes and is a prime candidate to stabilize centromeric chromatin. Using purified components, we find that CENP-C reshapes the octameric histone core of CENP-A nucleosomes, rigidifies both surface and internal nucleosome structure, and modulates terminal DNA to match the loose wrap that is found on native CENP-A nucleosomes at functional human centromeres. Thus, CENP-C affects nucleosome shape and dynamics in a manner analogous to allosteric regulation of enzymes. CENP-C depletion leads to rapid removal of CENP-A from centromeres, indicating their collaboration in maintaining centromere identity.
Project description:Mammalian centromere formation is dependent on chromatin that contains centromere protein (CENP)-A, which is the centromere-specific histone H3 variant. Human neocentromeres have acquired CENP-A chromatin epigenetically in ectopic chromosomal locations on low-copy complex DNA. Neocentromeres permit detailed investigation of centromeric chromatin organization that is not possible in the highly repetitive alpha satellite DNA present at endogenous centromeres.We have examined the distribution of CENP-A, as well as two additional centromeric chromatin-associated proteins (CENP-C and CENP-H), across neocentromeric DNA using chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) on CHIP assays on custom genomic microarrays at three different resolutions. Analysis of two neocentromeres using a contiguous bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) microarray spanning bands 13q31.3 to 13q33.1 shows that both CENP-C and CENP-H co-localize to the CENP-A chromatin domain. Using a higher resolution polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-amplicon microarray spanning the neocentromere, we find that the CENP-A chromatin is discontinuous, consisting of a major domain of about 87.8 kilobases (kb) and a minor domain of about 13.2 kb, separated by an approximately 158 kb region devoid of CENPs. Both CENP-A domains exhibit co-localization of CENP-C and CENP-H, defining a distinct inner kinetochore chromatin structure that is consistent with higher order chromatin looping models at centromeres. The PCR microarray data suggested varying density of CENP-A nucleosomes across the major domain, which was confirmed using a higher resolution oligo-based microarray.Centromeric chromatin consists of several CENP-A subdomains with highly discontinuous CENP-A chromatin at both the level of individual nucleosomes and at higher order chromatin levels, raising questions regarding the overall structure of centromeric chromatin.
Project description:CENP-A is a centromere-specific histone 3 variant essential for centromere specification. CENP-A partially replaces canonical histone H3 at the centromeres. How the particular CENP-A/H3 ratio at centromeres is precisely maintained is unknown. It also remains unclear how CENP-A is excluded from non-centromeric chromatin. Here, we identify Ccp1, an uncharacterized NAP family protein in fission yeast that antagonizes CENP-A loading at both centromeric and non-centromeric regions. Like the CENP-A loading factor HJURP, Ccp1 interacts with CENP-A and is recruited to centromeres at the end of mitosis in a Mis16-dependent manner. These data indicate that factors with opposing CENP-A loading activities are recruited to centromeres. Furthermore, Ccp1 also cooperates with H2A.Z to evict CENP-A assembled in euchromatin. Structural analyses indicate that Ccp1 forms a homodimer that is required for its anti-CENP-A loading activity. Our study establishes mechanisms for maintenance of CENP-A homeostasis at centromeres and the prevention of ectopic assembly of centromeres.
Project description:Centromeres are epigenetically defined by the centromere-specific histone H3 variant CENP-A. Specialized loading machinery, including the histone chaperone HJURP/Scm3, participates in CENP-A nucleosome assembly. However, Scm3/HJURP is missing from multiple lineages, including nematodes, with CENP-A-dependent centromeres. Here, we show that the extended N-terminal tail of <i>Caenorhabditis elegans</i> CENP-A contains a predicted structured region that is essential for centromeric chromatin assembly; removal of this region prevents CENP-A loading, resulting in failure of kinetochore assembly and defective chromosome condensation. By contrast, the N-tail mutant CENP-A localizes normally in the presence of endogenous CENP-A. The portion of the N-tail containing the predicted structured region binds to KNL-2, a conserved SANTA domain and Myb domain-containing protein (referred to as M18BP1 in vertebrates) specifically involved in CENP-A chromatin assembly. This direct interaction is conserved in the related nematode <i>Caenorhabditis briggsae</i>, despite divergence of the N-tail and KNL-2 primary sequences. Thus, the extended N-tail of CENP-A is essential for CENP-A chromatin assembly in <i>C. elegans</i> and partially substitutes for the function of Scm3/HJURP, in that it mediates a direct interaction between CENP-A and KNL-2. These results highlight an evolutionary variation on centromeric chromatin assembly in the absence of a dedicated CENP-A-specific chaperone/targeting factor of the Scm3/HJURP family.