Transcription in the maintenance of centromere chromatin identity

Foong Lyn Chan, Lee Wong

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69 Citations (Scopus)


Recent evidence has shown that transcription is permissible through the purportedly repressive centromere domain, and that this transcriptional activity is of functional consequence. The best-studied example is transcription of the pericentric DNA repeats in the generation of siRNAs required for pericentric heterochromatin assembly in yeast. However, non-siRNA transcripts emanating from both pericentric and centromere core domains have also been detected in a cell cycle and cellular differentiation-dependent manner. Elevated levels of centromeric transcripts have also been detected in some cancers; however, it is still unclear how high levels of centromere transcripts may contribute towards disease progression. More recent studies have demonstrated that careful regulation of the histone modifications and transcription level at the centromere is vital for the recruitment of key centromere proteins and assembly of CENP-A domain. Here, we compare the transcriptional dynamics and function of various transcripts derived from pericentromeric and centromere core regions. We also propose a model in which the chromatin remodelling activity of transcription, and the resultant transcripts, contribute synergistically to perpetuate centromere chromatin identity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11178 - 11188
Number of pages11
JournalNucleic Acids Research
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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