The Suv39h-HP1 histone methylation pathway is dispensable for enrichment and protection of cohesin at centromeres in mammalian cells

Chromosoma. 2008 Apr;117(2):199-210. doi: 10.1007/s00412-007-0139-z. Epub 2007 Dec 11.


Sister chromatids are physically connected by cohesin complexes. This sister chromatid cohesion is essential for the biorientation of chromosomes on the mitotic and meiotic spindle. In many species, cohesion between chromosome arms is partly dissolved in prophase of mitosis, whereas cohesion is protected at centromeres until the onset of anaphase. In vertebrates, the protein Sgo1, protein phosphatase 2A, and several other proteins are required for protection of centromeric cohesin in early mitosis. In fission yeast, the recruitment of heterochromatin protein Swi6/HP1 to centromeres by the histone-methyltransferase Clr4/Suv39h is required for enrichment of cohesin at centromeres already in interphase. We have tested if the Suv39h-HP1 histone methylation pathway is also required for enrichment and mitotic protection of cohesin at centromeres in mammalian cells. We show that cohesin and HP1 proteins partially colocalize at mitotic centromeres but that cohesin localization is not detectably altered in mouse embryonic fibroblasts that lack Suv39h genes and in which HP1 proteins can, therefore, not be properly enriched in pericentric heterochromatin. Our data indicate that the Suv39h-HP1 pathway is not essential for enrichment and mitotic protection of cohesin at centromeres in mammalian cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / metabolism*
  • Centromere / ultrastructure
  • Chromatin Immunoprecipitation
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone / metabolism*
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Histones / metabolism*
  • Meiosis
  • Methylation
  • Methyltransferases / genetics
  • Methyltransferases / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Mitosis
  • Repressor Proteins / genetics
  • Repressor Proteins / physiology*
  • Schizosaccharomyces
  • Spindle Apparatus


  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone
  • Histones
  • Repressor Proteins
  • cohesins
  • heterochromatin-specific nonhistone chromosomal protein HP-1
  • Suv39h1 protein, mouse
  • Methyltransferases