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Epigenetic inheritance and RNAi at the centromere and heterochromatin

Part 1. Genetics

1.3. Epigenetics

Short Specialist Review

  1. Kristin S. Caruana Scott1,
  2. Beth A. Sullivan2

Published Online: 15 NOV 2005

DOI: 10.1002/047001153X.g103322

Encyclopedia of Genetics, Genomics, Proteomics and Bioinformatics

Encyclopedia of Genetics, Genomics, Proteomics and Bioinformatics

How to Cite

Caruana Scott, K. S. and Sullivan, B. A. 2005. Epigenetic inheritance and RNAi at the centromere and heterochromatin. Encyclopedia of Genetics, Genomics, Proteomics and Bioinformatics. 1:1.3:43.

Author Information

  1. 1

    Duke University, Durham, NC, USA

  2. 2

    Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 NOV 2005

Abstract

RNA interference (RNAi) is a conserved gene silencing mechanism by which double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) are processed into short interfering RNAs (siRNAs) that regulate gene expression and posttranscriptional modifications of histones. In fission yeast and vertebrates, RNAi is important for heterochromatin formation and silencing at centromeric regions. In this article, we discuss the landmark studies describing RNAi-induced silencing at centromeres, and the multiprotein complexes that process centromeric repeats and recruit proteins that remodel and maintain centromeric heterochromatin. Finally, we briefly mention the genomic location of centromeres and the functional relevance for regulating essential chromosomal processes such as kinetochore assembly.

Keywords:

  • centromere;
  • heterochromatin;
  • epigenetic;
  • histone modification;
  • methylation;
  • acetylation;
  • satellite DNA;
  • long terminal repeat (LTR)