Phosphorylation of histone H2A is associated with centromere function and maintenance in meiosis

Plant J. 2012 Sep;71(5):800-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2012.05029.x. Epub 2012 Jun 20.


Histone phosphorylation is dynamically regulated during cell division, for example phosphorylation of histone H3 (H3)-Ser10, H3-Thr11 and H3-Ser28. Here we analyzed maize (Zea mays L) for Thr133-phosphorylated histone H2A, which is important for spindle checkpoint control and localization of the centromere cohesion protector Shugoshin in mammals and yeast. Immunostaining results indicate that phosphorylated H2A-Thr133 signals bridged those of the centromeric H3 histone variant CENH3 by using a plant displaying yellow fluorescent protein-CENH3 signals and H2A-Thr133 is phosphorylated in different cell types. During mitosis, H2A-Thr133 phosphorylation becomes strong in metaphase and is specific to centromere regions but drops during later anaphase and telophase. Immunostaining for several maize dicentric chromosomes revealed that the inactive centromeres have lost phosphorylation of H2A-Thr133. During meiosis in maize meiocytes, H2A phosphorylation becomes strong in the early pachytene stage and increases to a maximum at metaphase I. In the maize meiotic mutant afd1 (absence of first division), sister chromatids show equational separation at metaphase I, but there are no changes in H2A-Thr-133 phosphorylation during meiosis compared with the wild type. In sgo1 mutants, sister chromatids segregate randomly during meiosis II, and phosphorylation of H2A-Thr-133 is observed on the centromere regions during meiosis II. The availability of such mutants in maize that lack sister cohesion and Shugoshin indicate that the signals for phosphorylation are not dependent on cohesion but on centromere activity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Centromere / physiology*
  • Chromosomes, Plant / metabolism*
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • Histones / metabolism*
  • Meiosis*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phosphorylation
  • Zea mays / genetics
  • Zea mays / metabolism*


  • Histones