Synthetic maize centromeres transmit chromosomes across generations.

Kelly D. R. et al.

Centromeres are long, often repetitive regions of genomes that bind kinetochore proteins and ensure normal chromosome segregation. Engineering centromeres that function in vivo has proven to be difficult. Here we describe a tethering approach that activates functional maize centromeres at synthetic sequence arrays. A LexA-CENH3 fusion protein was used to recruit native Centromeric Histone H3 (CENH3) to long arrays of LexO repeats on a chromosome arm. Newly recruited CENH3 was sufficient to organize functional kinetochores that caused chromosome breakage, releasing chromosome fragments that were passed through meiosis and into progeny. Several fragments formed independent neochromosomes with centromeres localized over the LexO repeat arrays. The new centromeres were self-sustaining and transmitted neochromosomes to subsequent generations in the absence of the LexA-CENH3 activator. Our results demonstrate the feasibility of using synthetic centromeres for karyotype engineering applications.


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March, 2023


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    Maize B73 inner stem ZmCopia primer pair


  • Symposium: "Signaling through Chromatin"
    Grenoble, France
    Oct 2-Oct 4, 2023
  • EMBL Symposium: The non-coding genome
    Heidelberg, Germany
    Oct 11-Oct 14, 2023
    Crete, Greece
    Oct 15-Oct 20, 2023



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