The centromere is an essential chromosomal locus that dictates the nucleation point for assembly of the kinetochore and subsequent attachment of spindle microtubules during chromosome segregation. Research over the last decades demonstrated that centromeres are defined by a combination of genetic and epigenetic factors. Recent work showed that centromeres are quite diverse and flexible and that many types of centromere sequences and centromeric chromatin ("centrochromatin") have evolved. The kingdom of the fungi serves as an outstanding example of centromere plasticity, including organisms with centromeres as diverse as 0.15-300 kb in length, and with different types of chromatin states for most species examined thus far. Some of the species in the less familiar taxa provide excellent opportunities to help us better understand centromere biology in all eukaryotes, which may improve treatment options against fungal infection, and biotechnologies based on fungi. This review summarizes the current knowledge of fungal centromeres and centrochromatin, including an outlook for future research.
Journal: Progress in molecular and subcellular biology