2012 Volume 87 Issue 2 Pages 63-73
The centromere functions as a unique chromosomal attachment site for microtubules. Appropriate microtubule attachment is fundamental for organized chromosome behavior during mitosis and meiosis. Hence, centromeres must function both smoothly and stably. However, centromeric DNA sequences are poorly conserved between species despite common functions and similar centromeric protein composition, which leads us to the question: how are centromeres established and maintained? In this review, we summarize the recent progress in deciphering the mechanisms of centromere function. Specifically, we focus our attention on mechanisms closely-related to centromeric DNA and chromatin. By gathering such information, we hope to reveal a new dimension to the true nature of centromeres.