The nearly ubiquitous presence of repetitive centromere DNA sequences across eukaryotic species is in paradoxical contrast to their apparent functional dispensability. Centromeric chromatin is spatially delineated into the kinetochore-forming array of centromere protein A (CENP-A)-containing nucleosomes and the inner centromeric heterochromatin that lacks CENP-A but recruits the aurora B kinase that is necessary for correcting erroneous attachments to the mitotic spindle. We found that the self-perpetuating network of CENPs at the foundation of the kinetochore is intact at a human neocentromere lacking repetitive α-satellite DNA. However, aurora B is inappropriately silenced as a consequence of the altered geometry of the neocentromere, thereby compromising the error correction mechanism. This suggests a model wherein the neocentromere represents a primordial inheritance locus that requires subsequent generation of a robust inner centromere compartment to enhance fidelity of chromosome transmission.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology