CHD1 is a SNF2-related ATPase that is required for the genome-wide incorporation of variant histone H3.3 in the paternal pronucleus as well as in transcriptionally active nuclei in Drosophila embryos. The S. pombe and vertebrate orthologs of CHD1 have been implicated in the assembly of the centromeric histone H3 variant CenH3CENP-A, which occurs in a DNA replication-independent manner. Here, we examined whether CHD1 participates in the assembly of CenH3CID in Drosophila. In contrast to the findings in fission yeast and vertebrate cells, our evidence clearly argues against such a role for CHD1 in Drosophila. CHD1 does not localize to centromeres in either S2 cells or developing fly embryos. Down-regulation of CHD1 in S2 cells by RNAi reveals unchanged levels of CenH3CID at the centromeres. Most notably, ablation of functional CHD1 in Chd1 mutant fly embryos does not interfere with centromere and kinetochore assembly, as the levels and localization of CenH3CID, CENP-C and BubR1 in the mutant embryos remain similar to those seen in wild-type embryos. These results indicate that Drosophila CHD1 has no direct function in the incorporation of the centromeric H3 variant CenH3CID into chromatin. Therefore, centromeric chromatin assembly may involve different mechanisms in different organisms.
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