Journal Article

Variable and hierarchical size distribution of L1-retroelement-enriched CENP-A clusters within a functional human neocentromere

Anderly C. Chueh, Lee H. Wong, Nicholas Wong and K.H. Andy Choo

in Human Molecular Genetics

Volume 14, issue 1, pages 85-93
Published in print January 2005 | ISSN: 0964-6906
Published online November 2004 | e-ISSN: 1460-2083 | DOI:
Variable and hierarchical size distribution of L1-retroelement-enriched CENP-A clusters within a functional human neocentromere

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Human neocentromeres are fully functional centromeres that arise epigenetically from non-centromeric precursor sequences that are devoid of α-satellite DNA. Using chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) and BAC-array analysis, we have previously described a 330 kb binding domain for CENP-A (a histone H3 variant that confers centromere-specific nucleosomal property) at the 10q25 neocentromere found on a chromosome 10-derived marker chromosome mardel(10). For the further detailed analysis of the CENP-A-associated chromatin, we have generated a high-resolution genomic array consisting of PCR fragments with an average size of 8 kb, providing an ∼20-fold increment in analytical resolution. ChIP and PCR-array analysis reveals seven distinct CENP-A-binding clusters within the 330 kb domain, demonstrating the interspersion of CENP-A-associated nucleosomal blocks within the neocentromeric chromatin. Independent ChIP–PCR analysis verified this distribution profile and indicated that histone H3-containing nucleosomes directly intervene the CENP-A-binding clusters. The CENP-A-binding clusters are uneven in size, with the central cluster (>50 kb) being significantly larger than the flanking ones (10–30 kb), and the flanking clusters arranged in an interesting hierarchical and symmetrical configuration of alternating larger and smaller sizes around the central cluster. In silico sequence analysis indicates an ∼2.5-fold increase in the prevalence of L1 retroelements within the CENP-A-binding clusters when compared with the non-CENP-A-binding regions. These results provide insight into the possible role of retroelements in determining the positioning of CENP-A binding at human neocentromeres, and that a hierarchical and symmetrical arrangement of CENP-A-binding clusters of varying sizes may be an important structural requirement for mammalian kinetochore assembly and/or to provide stability to withstand polar microtubule forces.

Journal Article.  5734 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Genetics and Genomics

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