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Guarding the Genome: CENP-A-Chromatin in Health and Cancer

Mahlke, Megan A. and Nechemia-Arbely, Yael (2020) Guarding the Genome: CENP-A-Chromatin in Health and Cancer. Genes, 11 (7). p. 810. ISSN 2073-4425

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Faithful chromosome segregation is essential for the maintenance of genomic integrity and requires functional centromeres. Centromeres are epigenetically defined by the histone H3 variant, centromere protein A (CENP-A). Here we highlight current knowledge regarding CENP-A-containing chromatin structure, specification of centromere identity, regulation of CENP-A deposition and possible contribution to cancer formation and/or progression. CENP-A overexpression is common among many cancers and predicts poor prognosis. Overexpression of CENP-A increases rates of CENP-A deposition ectopically at sites of high histone turnover, occluding CCCTC-binding factor (CTCF) binding. Ectopic CENP-A deposition leads to mitotic defects, centromere dysfunction and chromosomal instability (CIN), a hallmark of cancer. CENP-A overexpression is often accompanied by overexpression of its chaperone Holliday Junction Recognition Protein (HJURP), leading to epigenetic addiction in which increased levels of HJURP and CENP-A become necessary to support rapidly dividing p53 deficient cancer cells. Alterations in CENP-A posttranslational modifications are also linked to chromosome segregation errors and CIN. Collectively, CENP-A is pivotal to genomic stability through centromere maintenance, perturbation of which can lead to tumorigenesis.


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Item Type: Article
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Mahlke, Megan
Date: 16 July 2020
Date Type: Publication
Journal or Publication Title: Genes
Volume: 11
Number: 7
Publisher: MDPI AG
Page Range: p. 810
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.3390/genes11070810
Schools and Programs: School of Medicine > Pharmacology and Chemical Biology
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: CENP-A, centromere, chromosome segregation, mitosis, epigenetic, kinetochore
ISSN: 2073-4425
Official URL:
Funders: Henry L. Hillman Foundation
Article Type: Review
Date Deposited: 12 May 2022 18:57
Last Modified: 12 May 2022 18:57


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