Epigenetic aspects of centromere function in plants

Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2011 Apr;14(2):217-22. doi: 10.1016/j.pbi.2011.02.004. Epub 2011 Mar 14.


Centromeres were once thought to be boring structures on the chromosome involved with transmission through mitosis and meiosis. Recent data from a wide spectrum of organisms reveal an epigenetic component to centromere specification in that they can become inactive easily or form over unique DNA as neocentromeres. However, the constancy of centromere repeats at primary constrictions in most species, the fact that these repeats are transcribed and incorporated into the kinetochore, and the phenomenon of reactivation of formerly inactive centromeres at the same chromosomal sites suggests some type of role of DNA sequence or configuration in establishing the site of kinetochores. Here we present evidence for epigenetic and structural aspects involved with centromere activity in plants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Centromere / genetics*
  • Centromere / metabolism
  • Chromosomes, Plant / genetics*
  • Chromosomes, Plant / metabolism
  • Epigenesis, Genetic*
  • Kinetochores
  • Meiosis / genetics
  • Plant Cells
  • Plants / genetics*
  • Plants / metabolism