The centromere plays an essential role in chromosome segregation. In most eukaryotes, centromeres are epigenetically defined by the conserved histone H3 variant CENP-A. Proper centromere assembly is dependent upon the tight regulation of CENP-A level. Cell cycle regulation of CENP-A transcription appears to be a universal feature across eukaryotes, but the molecular mechanism underlying the temporal control of CENP-A transcription and how such regulation contributes to centromere function remains elusive. CENP-A in fission yeast has been shown to be transcribed before S phase. Using various synchronization methods, we confirmed that CENP-A transcription occurs at G1, leading to an almost twofold increase of the protein during S phase. Through a genetic screen, we identified the MBF (MluI box-binding factors) complex as a key regulator of temporal control of CENP-A transcription. The periodic transcription of CENP-A is lost in MBF mutants, resulting in CENP-A mislocalization and chromosome segregation defects. We identified the MCB (MluI cell cycle box) motif in the CENP-A promoter, and further showed that the MBF complex binds to the motif to restrict CENP-A transcription to G1. Mutations of the MCB motif cause constitutive CENP-A expression and deleterious effects on cell survival. Using promoters driving transcription to different cell cycle stages, we found that timing of CENP-A transcription is dispensable for its centromeric localization. Our data instead indicate that cell cycle-regulated CENP-A transcription is a key step to ensure that a proper amount of CENP-A is generated across generations. This study provides mechanistic insights into the regulation of cell cycledependent CENP-A transcription, as well as its importance on centromere function.
- Cell cycle transcriptional control
- Schizosaccharomyces pombe
- The MBF complex
ASJC Scopus subject areas