Centromeres are dictated by the epigenetic inheritance of the centromeric nucleosome containing the centromere-specific histone H3 variant, CENP-A. The structure of the CENP-A nucleosome has been considered to be the fundamental architecture of the centromeric chromatin. Controversy exists in the literature regarding the CENP-A nucleosome structures, with octasome, hemisome, compact octasome, hexasome, and tetrasome models being reported. Some of these CENP-A nucleosome models may correspond to transient intermediates for the assembly of the mature CENP-A nucleosome; however, their significances are still unclear. Therefore, the structure of the mature CENP-A nucleosome has been eagerly awaited. We reconstituted the human CENP-A nucleosome with its cognate centromeric DNA fragment, and determined its crystal structure. In this review, we describe the structure and the physical properties of the CENP-A nucleosome, and discuss their implications for centromeric chromatin architecture.
The dgkB gene is essential for the growth of Bacillus subtilis. It encodes a diacylglycerol (DG) kinase that converts DG to phosphatidic acid to reintroduce it into the phospholipid synthesis pathway. Repression of the dgkB gene placed under a regulatable promoter causes accumulation of DG and leads to lethality. DG is formed as a byproduct of the synthesis of lipoteichoic acid (LTA), a polyanionic component of the cell envelope. B. subtilis synthesizes LTA by polymerizing the glycerophosphate moiety of phosphatidylglycerol (PG) onto a glucolipid membrane anchor, and releasing the DG moiety of PG. B. subtilis has four genes homologous to Staphylococcus aureus ltaS, which encodes LTA synthase. Disruption of either or both of two genes, yflE and yfnI, whose products show higher homology with S. aureus LtaS among the four homologues, suppressed the lethality caused by dgkB repression. In cells with dgkB repression, DG was accumulated to 43 ± 3% of total lipids, about three times the content of wild type cells (13 ± 1%). Disruption of yfnI in the dgkB-repressed cells reduced the DG content to 15 ± 2%, but yflE-disruption did not (42 ± 1%); this was probably due to efficient LTA synthesis by YfnI in the yflE-disrupted cells. Further introduction of a disrupted allele of ugtP, encoding glucolipid synthase that consumes DG as a substrate, partially lowered the colony forming capacity in strains with yflE-disruption. A disrupted dgkB allele was successfully introduced into strains disrupted for either or both of yflE and yfnI, indicating that the essential gene dgkB is dispensable in mutants defective in LTA synthesis.