Structure, Function & Regulation of Centromeres and Kinetochores

Proper attachment and segregation of chromosomes are of key importance for ensuring genome stability, and are essential for cell and organismal viability and avoidance of human diseases such as cancer. In eukaryotes, this is achieved by the assembly of the kinetochore complex at a single site on each chromosome, the centromere.

Surprisingly, centromere identity and propagation are epigenetically regulated in most eukaryotes. Active centromeres contain a centromere-specific histone H3-variant (CENP-A), which is required for kinetochore assembly. Kinetochores are intricate reactive machines responsible for chromosome movement during mitosis, and for monitoring the fidelity of microtubule attachments prior to anaphase segregation (the spindle assembly checkpoint).

The last four years has seen an explosion of information concerning our understanding of the regulatory mechanisms responsible for centromere and kinetochore assembly and function. Detailed insights are being provided by intricate structural and functional analyses of components and complexes. The development of in vitro and in vivo reconstitution systems has revealed how different components are regulated. This, coupled with novel live cell imaging and super-resolution microscopy, has demonstrated the dynamics of components, and how centromere and kinetochore assembly are regulated within the cell cycle. However, proteomic approaches have identified approximately 200 centromere-associated proteins in vertebrates, highlighting the need for more comprehensive structural and functional analyses.

At this critical moment, it is essential to create an opportunity for integration of information from diverse approaches and systems. Our principal aim is to bring together molecular geneticists, cell biologists, biochemists and structural biologists to discuss their latest findings, define the current challenges in the field, and stimulate junior and senior scientists to address the key questions. This will be a landmark meeting and will have great impact on progress in the field.

+ show speakers and program
Robin Allshire, University of Edinburgh
Genevieve Almouzni, Institut Curie - Paris
Ferran Azorin, IRB Barcelona
Judith Berman, Tel Aviv University
Sue Biggins, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Ben Black, University of Pennsylvania
Kerry Bloom, University of North Carolina
Ian Cheeseman, Whitehead Institute
Andy Choo, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute
Don Cleveland, Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research
Arshad Desai, Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research
Bill Earnshaw, Welcome Trust Centre for Cell Biology
Tatsuo Fukagawa, National Institute of Genetics
Jennifer Gerton, Stowers Institute for Medical Research
David Glover, University of Cambridge
Kevin Hardwick, University of Edinburgh
Stephen Harrison, Harvard Medical School
Silke Hauf, Friedrich Miescher Laboratory
Scott Hawley, Stowers Institute for Medical Research
Patrick Heun, Max Planck Institute of Immunology and Epigenetics
Jean-Paul Javerzat, CNRS et Université Bordeau
Lars Jansen, Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência
Gary Karpen, University of California-Berkeley
Christian Lehner, University of Zurich
Ana Losada, Spanish National Cancer Research Centre
Karolin Luger, Colorado State University
Harmit Malik, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Adele Marston, University of Edinburgh
Andrea Musacchio, Max Planck Institute for Molecular Phisiology
Tomoyuki Tanaka, University of Dundee
Maria-Elena Torres-Pallida, University of Strasbourg
Yoshinori Watanabe, University of Tokyo
Carl Wu, National Cancer Instititue
Mitsuhiro Yanagida, Kyoto University

1 Oct - 4 Oct 2012
meeting website