Heterochromatin and RNAi Are Required to Establish CENP-A Chromatin at Centromeres

A research team from the University of Edinburgh (Scotland, UK) recently discovered that the RNA interference (RNAi) orchestrated heterochromatin that flanks the central kinetochore domain at fission yeast centromeres. This is required to promote 1 and kinetochore assembly over the central domain. Heterochromatin is tightly packed chromosomal DNA and usually genetically inactive. It is defined by modifications on histones happening after translation, such as methylation of (). The methylation enables heterochromatin protein 1-related chromodomain proteins to bind. Heterochromatin is often localised close to chromatin, the key determinant of kinetochore assembly.

Three factors are required to establish 1 chromatin on naïve templates: the methyltransferase (Clr4), the ribonuclease Dicer Chp1, cleaving heterochromatic double-stranded RNA to small interfering RNA (siRNA) and (HP1). Once assembled, 1 chromatin proliferates epigenetically in the absence of heterochromatin.

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