A transcriptional roadblock protects yeast centromeres

Sabrine Hedouin, Glennis A Logsdon, Jason G Underwood, and Sue Biggins

Nucleic Acids Research, gkac117, https://doi.org/10.1093/nar/gkac117

Centromeres are essential chromosomal regions that do not encode gene products and instead ensure the accurate partitioning of chromosomes during cell division. Despite the lack of genes, transcription has been detected at centromeres. It has not been clear where this centromeric RNA comes from and how it is regulated. In this study, the authors identified all of the centromeric RNAs at and around budding yeast centromeres during the cell cycle. Unlike RNAs that encode for proteins, centromeric RNAs are a complex mixture of transcripts that result from adjacent RNAs that continue into the centromere. The authors found that most transcription is blocked at the centromere border by a protein called Cbf1. This mechanism shields the centromere from untimely transcription to ensure genome stability.

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