Centromeres of human chromosomes.
The centromere, recognized cytologically as the primary constriction, is essential for chromosomal attachment to the spindle and for proper segregation of mitotic and meiotic chromosomes. Considerable progress has been made in identifying both DNA and protein components of the centromere and kinetochore complex in mammalian chromosomes, including definition of specific motor proteins with demonstrable functions in chromosome movement. Searches for possible environmental influences on chromosome disjunction might logically be based on known components of the segregation apparatus, both intrinsic and extrinsic to the chromosomes themselves. This article reviews available information on both DNA and protein components of the centromere of mammalian, particularly human, chromosomes and summarizes our current understanding of their role(s) in facilitating normal chromosome behavior in mitosis and meiosis.
Sullivan, BA; Schwartz, S; Willard, HF
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