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A mutation in CSE4, an essential gene encoding a novel chromatin-associated protein in yeast, causes chromosome nondisjunction and cell cycle arrest at mitosis.

Stoler S., Keith K.C., Curnick K.E., Fitzgerald-Hayes M.

The centromere, a differentiated region of the eukaryotic chromosome, mediates the segregation of sister chromatids at mitosis. In this study, a Saccharomyces cerevisiae chromosome mis-segregation mutant, cse4-1, has been isolated and shown to increase the nondisjunction frequency of a chromosome bearing a mutant centromere DNA sequence. In addition, at elevated temperatures the cse4-1 allele causes a mitosis-specific arrest with a predominance of large budded cells containing single G2 nuclei and short bipolar mitotic spindles. The wild-type gene, CSE4, is essential for cell division and encodes a protein containing a domain that is 64% identical to the highly conserved chromatin protein, histone H3. Biochemical experiments demonstrate that CSE4p has similar DNA-binding characteristics as those of histone H3 and might form a specialized nucleosome structure in vivo. Interestingly, the human centromere protein, CENP-A, also contains this H3-like domain. Data presented here indicate that CSE4p is required for proper kinetochore function in yeast and may represent an evolutionarily conserved protein necessary for assembly of the unique chromatin structure associated with the eukaryotic centromere.

Genes Dev. 9:573-586(1995) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]