Roles of Mis18α in epigenetic regulation of centromeric chromatin and CENP-A loading

Mol Cell. 2012 May 11;46(3):260-73. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2012.03.021. Epub 2012 Apr 17.


The Mis18 complex has been identified as a critical factor for the centromeric localization of a histone H3 variant, centromeric protein A (CENP-A), which is responsible for the specification of centromere identity in the chromosome. However, the functional role of Mis18 complex is largely unknown. Here, we generated Mis18α conditional knockout mice and found that Mis18α deficiency resulted in lethality at early embryonic stage with severe defects in chromosome segregation caused by mislocalization of CENP-A. Further, we demonstrate Mis18α's crucial role for epigenetic regulation of centromeric chromatin by reinforcing centromeric localization of DNMT3A/3B. Mis18α interacts with DNMT3A/3B, and this interaction is critical for maintaining DNA methylation and hence regulating epigenetic states of centromeric chromatin. Mis18α deficiency led to reduced DNA methylation, altered histone modifications, and uncontrolled noncoding transcripts in centromere region by decreased DNMT3A/3B enrichment. Together, our findings uncover the functional mechanism of Mis18α and its pivotal role in mammalian cell cycle.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoantigens / analysis
  • Autoantigens / metabolism*
  • Binding Sites
  • Centromere / genetics*
  • Centromere / metabolism
  • Centromere Protein A
  • Chromatin / metabolism
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone / analysis
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone / genetics
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone / metabolism*
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone / physiology*
  • Chromosome Segregation / genetics*
  • DNA (Cytosine-5-)-Methyltransferases / metabolism
  • DNA Methylation
  • DNA Methyltransferase 3A
  • Epigenesis, Genetic*
  • HeLa Cells
  • Histones / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Protein Interaction Mapping


  • Autoantigens
  • CENPA protein, human
  • Cenpa protein, mouse
  • Centromere Protein A
  • Chromatin
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone
  • DNMT3A protein, human
  • Dnmt3a protein, mouse
  • Histones
  • MIS18alpha protein, mouse
  • DNA (Cytosine-5-)-Methyltransferases
  • DNA Methyltransferase 3A