Centromeres and kinetochores: from epigenetics to mitotic checkpoint signaling

Cell. 2003 Feb 21;112(4):407-21. doi: 10.1016/s0092-8674(03)00115-6.


The centromere is a chromosomal locus that ensures delivery of one copy of each chromosome to each daughter at cell division. Efforts to understand the nature and specification of the centromere have demonstrated that this central element for ensuring inheritance is itself epigenetically determined. The kinetochore, the protein complex assembled at each centromere, serves as the attachment site for spindle microtubules and the site at which motors generate forces to power chromosome movement. Unattached kinetochores are also the signal generators for the mitotic checkpoint, which arrests mitosis until all kinetochores have correctly attached to spindle microtubules, thereby representing the major cell cycle control mechanism protecting against loss of a chromosome (aneuploidy).

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anaphase
  • Aneuploidy
  • Animals
  • Centromere / metabolism*
  • Centromere / ultrastructure
  • Diffusion
  • Humans
  • Kinetochores / metabolism*
  • Mitosis
  • Models, Biological
  • Nucleosomes / ultrastructure*
  • Saccharomycetales / ultrastructure
  • Schizosaccharomyces / ultrastructure
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Time Factors


  • Nucleosomes