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Epigenetic function of the amino-terminal domain of CENP-A during mitosis

Abstract : The histone variant CENP-A epigenetically marks the centromere. The presence of CENP-A at the centromeres allows the recruitment of centromeric proteins that constitute the platform for functional kinetochores.In human cells, the NH2-terminus of CENP-A and its phosphorylation at serine 7 in mitosis has been reported to be crucial for the progression of mitosis. However, no phosphorylation of CENP-A in other metazoan species has been described. Here, we show that the NH2-terminus of CENP-A, but not its primary sequence, is required for mitosis in mouse embryonic cells (MEFs). Our data show that the mitotic defects resulting from the depletion of the endogenous CENP-A can be rescued when MEFs expressing a GFP- CENP-A mutant where the NH2-terminus of CENP-A was swapped with the phosphorylatable tail of conventional histone H3. Conversely, no rescue was observed when the two phosphorylatable serines in the H3 tail mutant were replaced with alanines. Furthermore, a non-phosphorylatable fusion mutant of CENP-A where all seven serines in the amino-tail were replaced with alanines, was also unable to rescue the mitotic phenotype of CENP-A depleted cells.We also identified that the first three serines of the tail of CENP-A as potential sites for phosphorylation. Additionally, we were able to link the phosphorylation of CENP-A amino-tail to the proper localization of the key centromeric protein CENP-C. These results suggest that mitotic CENP-A phosphorylation is a potentially common event in metazoans essential for mitotic progression.In the second par of this work we wanted to unambiguously tie the NH2-terminus function of CENP-A to mitosis. To achieve this, we wanted to remove the CENP-A amino-tail only during mitosis and we devised a new method called the Hara-kiri approach in order to answer the above question in human cells. The removal of the NH2-terminal domain of CENP-A using the Hara-kiri approach at the onset of mitosis led to increased mitotic defects in cells. Taken collectively these data show that the CENP-A NH2- terminus is required during mitosis to assure proper cell division.
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Defne Dalkara. Epigenetic function of the amino-terminal domain of CENP-A during mitosis. Cellular Biology. Université Grenoble Alpes, 2017. English. ⟨NNT : 2017GREAV001⟩. ⟨tel-02910197⟩

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