Insights into assembly and regulation of centromeric chromatin in Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2012 Jul;1819(7):776-83. doi: 10.1016/j.bbagrm.2012.02.008. Epub 2012 Feb 16.


At the core of chromosome segregation is the centromere, which nucleates the assembly of a macromolecular kinetochore (centromere DNA and associated proteins) complex responsible for mediating spindle attachment. Recent advances in centromere research have led to identification of many kinetochore components, such as the centromeric-specific histone H3 variant, CenH3, and its interacting partner, Scm3. Both are essential for chromosome segregation and are evolutionarily conserved from yeast to humans. CenH3 is proposed to be the epigenetic mark that specifies centromeric identity. Molecular mechanisms that regulate the assembly of kinetochores at specific chromosomal sites to mediate chromosome segregation are not fully understood. In this review, we summarize the current literature and discuss results from our laboratory, which show that restricting the localization of budding yeast CenH3, Cse4, to centromeres and balanced stoichiometry between Scm3 and Cse4, contribute to faithful chromosome transmission. We highlight our findings that, similar to other eukaryotic centromeres, budding yeast centromeric histone H4 is hypoacetylated, and we discuss how altered histone acetylation affects chromosome segregation. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Chromatin in time and space.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Centromere / genetics*
  • Centromere / metabolism
  • Chromatin / genetics*
  • Chromatin / metabolism
  • Chromatin Assembly and Disassembly*
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone / genetics
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone / metabolism
  • Chromosome Segregation
  • Chromosomes, Fungal / genetics
  • Chromosomes, Fungal / metabolism
  • Genomic Instability
  • Histones / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / physiology
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins / genetics
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins / metabolism


  • Chromatin
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone
  • Histones
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins
  • Scm3 protein, S cerevisiae