J Biol Chem. 2021 Oct;297(4):101213. doi: 10.1016/j.jbc.2021.101213. Epub 2021 Sep 20.
CENP-B promotes the centromeric localization of ZFAT to control transcription of noncoding RNA.
The centromere is a chromosomal locus that is essential for the accurate segregation of chromosomes during cell division. Transcription of noncoding RNA (ncRNA) at the centromere plays a crucial role in centromere function. The zinc-finger transcriptional regulator ZFAT binds to a specific 8-bp DNA sequence at the centromere, named the ZFAT box, to control ncRNA transcription. However, the precise molecular mechanisms by which ZFAT localizes to the centromere remain elusive. Here we show that the centromeric protein CENP-B is required for the centromeric localization of ZFAT to regulate ncRNA transcription. The ectopic expression of CENP-B induces the accumulation of both endogenous and ectopically expressed ZFAT protein at the centromere in human cells, suggesting that the centromeric localization of ZFAT requires the presence of CENP-B. Coimmunoprecipitation analysis reveals that ZFAT interacts with the acidic domain of CENP-B, and depletion of endogenous CENP-B reduces the centromeric levels of ZFAT protein, further supporting that CENP-B is required for the centromeric localization of ZFAT. In addition, knockdown of CENP-B significantly decreased the expression levels of ncRNA at the centromere where ZFAT regulates the transcription, suggesting that CENP-B is involved in the ZFAT-regulated centromeric ncRNA transcription. Thus, we concluded that CENP-B contributes to the establishment of the centromeric localization of ZFAT to regulate ncRNA transcription.