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Chromosoma 2008 Aug;117(4):367-80. Epub 2008 Mar

ZNF397, a new class of interphase to early prophase-specific, SCAN-zinc-finger, mammalian centromere protein.

Bailey, SL; Chang, SC; Choo, KH; Earle, E; Graham, AN; Griffiths, B; Kalitsis, P.; Saffery, R

Chromosome and Chromatin Research, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Department of Paediatrics, University of Melbourne, Royal Children's Hospital, Parkville, Victoria, Australia.

The centromere is a complex structure required for equal segregation of newly synthesised sister chromatids at mitosis. One of the significant objectives in centromere research is to determine the complete repertoire of protein components that constitute the kinetochore. Here, we identify a novel centromere protein using a centromere-positive autoimmune serum from a patient with watermelon stomach disease. Western blot and screening of a lambda phage expression library revealed a 60-kDa protein, ZNF397. This protein belongs to the classical Cys(2)His(2) group of the zinc-finger protein superfamily and contains two conserved domains: a leucine-rich SCAN domain and nine Cys(2)His(2) zinc fingers. Bioinformatic analysis shows that ZNF397 is conserved in placental mammals. Stable GFP:ZNF397-expressing human cells show co-localisation of ZNF397 with the constitutive centromere protein CENP-A during interphase and early prophase. Deletion and domain-swap constructs indicate that the SCAN domain is necessary but not sufficient for centromere localisation. Gene-knockout studies in mice using the mouse orthologue (Zfp397) reveal that ZNF397 is a non-essential protein. These properties define ZNF397 as a member of a new class of interphase to early prophase-specific and SCAN domain-containing mammalian centromere protein. The possible role of this protein in transcription at the centromere is discussed.

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