Heterochromatin is required for normal distribution of Neurospora crassa CenH3.

Research paper by Kristina M KM Smith, Pallavi A PA Phatale, Christopher M CM Sullivan, Kyle R KR Pomraning, Michael M Freitag

Indexed on: 21 Apr '11Published on: 21 Apr '11Published in: Molecular and cellular biology


Centromeres serve as platforms for the assembly of kinetochores and are essential for nuclear division. Here we identified Neurospora crassa centromeric DNA by chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by high-throughput sequencing (ChIP-seq) of DNA associated with tagged versions of the centromere foundation proteins CenH3 (CENP-A) and CEN-C (CENP-C) and the kinetochore protein CEN-T (CENP-T). On each chromosome we found an ∼150- to 300-kbp region of enrichment for all three proteins. These regions correspond to intervals predicted to be centromeric DNA by genetic mapping and DNA sequence analyses. By ChIP-seq we found extensive colocalization of CenH3, CEN-C, CEN-T, and histone H3K9 trimethylation (H3K9me3). In contrast, H3K4me2, which has been found at the cores of plant, fission yeast, Drosophila, and mammalian centromeres, was not enriched in Neurospora centromeric DNA. DNA methylation was most pronounced at the periphery of centromeric DNA. Mutation of dim-5, which encodes an H3K9 methyltransferase responsible for nearly all H3K9me3, resulted in altered distribution of CenH3-green fluorescent protein (GFP). Similarly, CenH3-GFP distribution was altered in the absence of HP1, the chromodomain protein that binds to H3K9me3. We conclude that eukaryotes with regional centromeres make use of different strategies for maintenance of CenH3 at centromeres, and we suggest a model in which centromere proteins nucleate at the core but require DIM-5 and HP1 for spreading.