Centromeres remain perhaps the most enigmatic regions of the genome. Centromeres provide the structural and functional foundation to anchor chromosomes to the mitotic spindle during eukaryotic cell division by forming the platform for kinetochore assembly. The importance of centromeres in genome inheritance has long been recognized, but its properties, organization, and functions have remained largely mysterious. Indeed, despite the “sequencing” of the human genome more than a decade ago, it was only recently that the first assemblies of human centromeres were completed. Recent work on centromeres has provided incredible insights into the sequences of centromeres from diverse organisms, the changes to centromeres that occur across evolution or in diseases such as cancer, the nature of the epigenetic inheritance of centromere function, and the role of centromeres in chromosome segregation and cell cycle control, and the ability of centromeres to shape genetic heritability and speciation. Our current knowledge of centromere regulation has contributed to a much better molecular understanding of centromere dysfunction that can contribute to chromosome mis-segregation, ultimately leading to human genetic disease and aneuploidy.
The goal of the Centromere Biology GRC is to substantially advance our understanding of the centromere regions of each chromosome by convening researchers of multiple disciplines focusing on this genomic locus. This meeting will bring together a diverse group of outstanding scientists to build a community interested in understanding different aspects of centromere properties including the sequence, nature, organization, evolution, and function of this unique genomic locus. Speakers will represent the range of disciplines that this community attracts including genomics, bioinformatics, genetics, epigenetics, biochemistry, biophysics, structural biology, cell and molecular biology, as well as theory and modeling. We value this meeting as part of a larger effort to build an inclusive and diverse centromere community.
The conference will consist of nine sessions, on the topics listed below. The conference chair is currently developing their preliminary program, which will include the names of the invited speakers and discussion leaders for each of these sessions. The preliminary program will be available by October 24, 2021. Please check back for updates.
- Keynote Session: Centromeres: From Evolution to Human Health
- Biophysical Properties of Centromeres
- Centromeres in Meiosis and Stem Cell Division
- Centromere Dysfunction: Chromosome Segregation Defects and Disease
- Centromere Genomics, Evolution and Variability
- Epigenetic Regulation of Centromere Identity
- Transcripts and Transcription Control of Centromere Function
- Building Blocks Around and Above the Centromere
- New Concepts of Centromere Function and Regulation