During cell division, interactions between microtubules and chromosomes are mediated by the kinetochore, a proteinaceous structure located at the primary constriction of chromosomes. In addition to the centromere histone centromere protein A (CENP-A), 15 other members of the constitutive centromere associated network (CCAN) participate in the formation of a chromatin-associated scaffold that supports kinetochore structure. We performed a targeted screen analyzing unfolded centrochromatin from CENP-depleted chromosomes. Our results revealed that CENP-C and CENP-S are critical for the stable folding of mitotic kinetochore chromatin. Multipeak fitting algorithms revealed the presence of an organized pattern of centrochromatin packing consistent with arrangement of CENP-A-containing nucleosomes into up to five chromatin "subunits"-each containing roughly 20-30 nucleosomes. These subunits could be either layers of a boustrophedon or small loops of centromeric chromatin.
Keywords: CENP-A; boustrophedon; centrochromatin; centromere; kinetochore.