Transcription within a functional human centromere

Mol Cell. 2003 Aug;12(2):509-16. doi: 10.1016/s1097-2765(03)00279-x.


Recent data in yeast and Drosophila suggest a domain-like centromere structure with a modified chromatin core and flanking regions of heterochromatin. We have analyzed a functional human centromere and defined a region of increased chromosome scaffold/matrix attachment that overlaps three other distinct and nonoverlapping domains for constitutive centromere proteins CENP-A and CENP-H, and heterochromatin protein HP1. Transcriptional competency is intact throughout the S/MAR-enriched region and within the CENP-A- and CENP-H-associated chromatin. These results provide insights into the relationship between centromeric chromatin and transcriptional competency in vivo, highlighting the permissibility of transcription within the constitutively modified, nonheterochromatic chromatin of a functional eukaryotic centromere.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoantigens*
  • Centromere / metabolism*
  • Centromere / ultrastructure*
  • Centromere Protein A
  • Chromatin / metabolism
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone / chemistry
  • Chromosomes, Artificial, Bacterial
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 10 / ultrastructure
  • DNA-Binding Proteins*
  • Drosophila
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Hepatocyte Nuclear Factor 1
  • Hepatocyte Nuclear Factor 1-alpha
  • Hepatocyte Nuclear Factor 1-beta
  • Heterochromatin / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hybrid Cells / metabolism
  • Models, Genetic
  • Nuclear Proteins*
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Transcription, Genetic*


  • Autoantigens
  • CENPA protein, human
  • CENPH protein, human
  • Centromere Protein A
  • Chromatin
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • HNF1A protein, human
  • HNF1B protein, human
  • Hepatocyte Nuclear Factor 1-alpha
  • Heterochromatin
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • Hepatocyte Nuclear Factor 1
  • Hepatocyte Nuclear Factor 1-beta