The Journal of cell biology

Diaphanous formin mDia2 regulates CENP-A levels at centromeres.

PMID 27185834


Centromeres of higher eukaryotes are epigenetically defined by centromere protein A (CENP-A), a centromere-specific histone H3 variant. The incorporation of new CENP-A into centromeres to maintain the epigenetic marker after genome replication in S phase occurs in G1 phase; however, how new CENP-A is loaded and stabilized remains poorly understood. Here, we identify the formin mDia2 as essential for stable replenishment of new CENP-A at centromeres. Quantitative imaging, pulse-chase analysis, and high-resolution ratiometric live-cell studies demonstrate that mDia2 and its nuclear localization are required to maintain CENP-A levels at centromeres. Depletion of mDia2 results in a prolonged centromere association of holiday junction recognition protein (HJURP), the chaperone required for CENP-A loading. A constitutively active form of mDia2 rescues the defect in new CENP-A loading caused by depletion of male germ cell Rac GTPase-activating protein (MgcRacGAP), a component of the small GTPase pathway essential for CENP-A maintenance. Thus, the formin mDia2 functions downstream of the MgcRacGAP-dependent pathway in regulating assembly of new CENP-A containing nucleosomes at centromeres.