Phosphorylation of histone H3 threonine 118 (H3 T118ph) weakens histone DNA-contacts, disrupting the nucleosome structure. We show that Aurora-A mediated H3 T118ph occurs at pericentromeres and chromosome arms during prophase and is lost upon chromosome alignment. Expression of H3 T118E or H3 T118I (a SIN mutation that bypasses the need for the ATP-dependent nucleosome remodeler SWI/SNF) leads to mitotic problems including defects in spindle attachment, delayed cytokinesis, reduced chromatin packaging, cohesion loss, cohesin and condensin I loss in human cells. In agreement, overexpression of Aurora-A leads to increased H3 T118ph levels, causing cohesion loss, and reduced levels of cohesin and condensin I on chromatin. Normal levels of H3 T118ph are important because it is required for development in fruit flies. We propose that H3 T118ph alters the chromatin structure during specific phases of mitosis to promote timely condensin I and cohesin disassociation, which is essential for effective chromosome segregation.
- Peter Verrijzer, Erasmus University Medical Center, Netherlands
© 2016, Wike et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.