About CENP / Centromere Protein:
Centromere proteins are components of the nucleosome distal complex, required by centromeres to assemble kinetochore proteins, chromosome segregation and mitotic progressions. Throughout its history and discovery, centromere protein has had many different names, including Cse4p in yeast, Cid in fruit flies, and Cnplp in fission yeast.
Centromere protein A (CENP-A) is a centromeric variant of the regular histone H3, found mainly in the centromeric region during periods of replication. It plays a vital role in the regulation of centromere formation, genome stability and the constriction of the kinetochore. De novo centromere assembly is dependent on RNA interference and heterochromatic pathways in yeast.
Centromere Protein Structure
This histone variant is different from the H2A histone because it contains a macro domain at the C-terminal end. The protein is only found in vertebrates and is 60 percent similar to its canonical counterpart.
CENP-A is a histone variant, but essential for survival. The fold domain of the protein appears to be evolutionarily conserved, thanks to the high percentage similarity to the H3 histone. In terms of evolution, it appears to be one of the fastest-evolving histones, similar to H3.3.
CENP-A is interesting from a scientific perspective because of its ability to create split nucleosomes in fruit flies. Being able to do this is something that has challenged the chromatin field, but it now appears to be possible.
It has also been shown that recombinant CENP-A and the complementary core histone counterpart may be able to reconstitute full nucleosomes in vitro, representing a significant methodological and experimental breakthrough.