We report the interaction between a human centromere antigen and an alphoid DNA, a human centromeric satellite DNA, which consists of 170-bp repeating units. A cloned alphoid DNA fragment incubated with a HeLa cell nuclear extract is selectively immunoprecipitated by the anticentromere sera from scleroderma patients. Immunoprecipitation of the DNA made by primer extension defines the 17-bp segment on the alphoid DNA that is required for formation of DNA-antigen complex. On the other hand, when proteins bound to the biotinylated alphoid DNA carrying the 17-bp motif are recovered by streptavidin agarose and immunoblotted, the 80-kD centromere antigen (CENP-B) is detected. DNA binding experiments for proteins immunoprecipitated with anticentromere serum, separated by gel electrophoresis, and transferred to a membrane strongly suggest that the 80-kD antigen specifically binds to the DNA fragment with the 17-bp motif. The 17-bp motif is termed the "CENP-B box." Alphoid monomers with the CENP-B box are found in all the known alphoid subclasses, with varying frequencies, except the one derived from the Y chromosome so far cloned. These results imply that the interaction of the 80-kD centromere antigen with the CENP-B box in the alphoid repeats may play some crucial role in the formation of specified structure and/or function of human centromere.

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