Choi ES, Strålfors A, Castillo AG, Durand-Dubief M, Ekwall K, Allshire RC
J. Biol. Chem. 286 (26) 23600-23607 [2011-07-01; online 2011-05-03]
The histone H3 variant CENP-A is the most favored candidate for an epigenetic mark that specifies the centromere. In fission yeast, adjacent heterochromatin can direct CENP-A(Cnp1) chromatin establishment, but the underlying features governing where CENP-A(Cnp1) chromatin assembles are unknown. We show that, in addition to centromeric regions, a low level of CENP-A(Cnp1) associates with gene promoters where histone H3 is depleted by the activity of the Hrp1(Chd1) chromatin-remodeling factor. Moreover, we demonstrate that noncoding RNAs are transcribed by RNA polymerase II (RNAPII) from CENP-A(Cnp1) chromatin at centromeres. These analyses reveal a similarity between centromeres and a subset of RNAPII genes and suggest a role for remodeling at RNAPII promoters within centromeres that influences the replacement of histone H3 with CENP-A(Cnp1).