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    The centromere is the special region on a chromosome, which serves as the site for assembly of kinetochore complex and is essential for maintaining genomic integrity. Neocentromeres are new centromeres that form on the non-centromeric regions of the chromosome when the natural centromere is disrupted or inactivated. Although neocentromeres lack the typical features found in centromeres, cells with neocentromeres divide normally during mitosis and meiosis. Neocentromeres not only arise naturally but their formation can also be induced experimentally. Therefore, neocentromeres are a great tool for studying functions and formation of centromeres. To study neocentromeres and use that knowledge to gain insights into the epigenetic regulation of canonical centromeres. Here, we review the characteristics of naturally occurring centromeres and neocentromeres and those of experimentally induced neocentromeres. We also discuss the mechanism of centromere formation and epigenetic regulation of centromere function, which we learned from studying the neocentromeres. Although neocentromeres lack main features of centromeres, such as presence of repetitive ⍺-satellite DNA and pericentric heterochromatin, they behave quite similar to the canonical centromere, indicating the epigenetic nature of the centromere. Still, further investigation will help to understand the formation and maintenance of the centromere, and the correlation to human diseases. Neocentromeres helped us to understand the formation of canonical centromeres. Also, since neocentromeres are associated with certain cancer types, knowledge about them could be helpful to treat cancer. © 2021. The Author(s) under exclusive licence to The Genetics Society of Korea.


    Taekyung Kim. Epigenetic control of centromere: what can we learn from neocentromere? Genes & genomics. 2022 Mar;44(3):317-325

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    PMID: 34843088

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