Centromeres are specialized chromatin domains specified by the centromere-specific CENP-A nucleosome. The stable inheritance of vertebrate centromeres is an epigenetic process requiring deposition of new CENP-A nucleosomes by HJURP. We show HJURP is recruited to centromeres through a direct interaction between the HJURP centromere targeting domain and the Mis18α-β C-terminal coiled-coil domains. We demonstrate Mis18α and Mis18β form a heterotetramer through their C-terminal coiled-coil domains. Mis18α-β heterotetramer formation is required for Mis18BP1 binding and centromere recognition. S. pombe contains a single Mis18 isoform that forms a homotetramer, showing tetrameric Mis18 is conserved from fission yeast to humans. HJURP binding disrupts the Mis18α-β heterotetramer and removes Mis18α from centromeres. We propose stable binding of Mis18 to centromeres in telophase licenses them for CENP-A deposition. Binding of HJURP deposits CENP-A at centromeres and facilitates the removal of Mis18, restricting CENP-A deposition to a single event per cell cycle.
Keywords: centromere; chromatin; mitosis; nucleosome.
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