We have examined the metaphase chromosomal localization of 15 proteins that have previously been described as involved in mammalian chromatin modification and/or transcriptional modulation. Immunofluorescence data indicate that all the proteins localize to human and mouse centromeres, a neocentromere, and the active centromere of a dicentric chromosome, with six of these proteins (Sin3A, PCAF, MYST, MBD2, ORC2, P300/CBP) being demonstrated at mammalian centromeres for the first time. Most of these proteins fall into two distinct chromosomal distribution patterns: (a) kinetochore-associated proteins (Sin3A, PCAF, MYST and BAF180), which colocalize with metaphase kinetochores, but not any of the pericentric and other major heterochromatic regions; and (b) heterochromatin-associated proteins (MeCP2, MBD1, MBD2, ATRX, HP1α, HDAC1, HDAC2, DNMT1 and DNMT3b), which colocalize with centromeric/pericentric heterochromatin and all other major heterochromatic sites. A heterogeneous third group (c) consists of the origin recognition complex subunit ORC2 and the histone acetyltransferase P300/CBP, which associate generally with kinetochores in humans and centromeric/pericentric heterochromatin in mouse, with some minor differences in localization. These observations indicate an extensive sharing of protein components involved in chromatin modification at gene loci, centromeres and various chromosomal heterochromatic landmarks. The definition of distinct patterns of chromosomal distribution for these proteins provides a useful basis for the further investigation of the broad-ranging roles of these proteins.