Indexed on: 31 Jul '13Published on: 31 Jul '13Published in: Genetics
The kinetochore (centromeric DNA and associated protein complex) is essential for faithful chromosome segregation and maintenance of genome stability. Here we report that an evolutionarily conserved protein Pat1 is a structural component of Saccharomyces cerevisiae kinetochore and associates with centromeres in a NDC10-dependent manner. Consistent with a role for Pat1 in kinetochore structure and function, a deletion of PAT1 results in delay in sister chromatid separation, errors in chromosome segregation, and defects in structural integrity of centromeric chromatin. Pat1 is involved in topological regulation of minichromosomes as altered patterns of DNA supercoiling were observed in pat1Δ cells. Studies with pat1 alleles uncovered an evolutionarily conserved region within the central domain of Pat1 that is required for its association with centromeres, sister chromatid separation, and faithful chromosome segregation. Taken together, our data have uncovered a novel role for Pat1 in maintaining the structural integrity of centromeric chromatin to facilitate faithful chromosome segregation and proper kinetochore function.