A network of players in H3 histone variant deposition and maintenance at centromeres

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2014 Mar;1839(3):241-50. doi: 10.1016/j.bbagrm.2013.11.008. Epub 2013 Dec 6.


Centromeres are key chromosomal landmarks important for chromosome segregation and are characterized by distinct chromatin features. The centromeric histone H3 variant, referred to as CENP-A or CenH3(CENP-A) in mammals, has emerged as a key determinant for centromeric structure, function and epigenetic inheritance. To regulate the correct incorporation and maintenance of histones at this locus, the cell employs an intricate network of molecular players, among which histone chaperones and chromatin remodelling factors have been identified over the past years. The mammalian centromere-specific chaperone HJURP represents an interesting paradigm to understand the functioning of this network. This review highlights and discusses the latest findings on centromeric histone H3 variant deposition and regulation to delineate the current view on centromere establishment, maintenance and propagation throughout the cell cycle. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Chromatin and epigenetic regulation of animal development.

Keywords: CENP-A; Cell cycle; CenH3; Centromere; HJURP.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Centromere / genetics
  • Centromere / metabolism*
  • Chromatin Assembly and Disassembly / physiology*
  • Chromosome Segregation / physiology*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Epigenesis, Genetic / physiology*
  • Histones / genetics
  • Histones / metabolism*
  • Humans


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • HJURP protein, human
  • Histones