This gene encodes a highly conserved nonhistone protein, which is a member of the heterochromatin protein family. The protein is enriched in the heterochromatin and associated with centromeres. The protein has a single N-terminal chromodomain which can bind to histone proteins via methylated lysine residues, and a C-terminal chromo shadow-domain (CSD) which is responsible for the homodimerization and interaction with a number of chromatin-associated nonhistone proteins. The encoded product is involved in the formation of functional kinetochore through interaction with essential kinetochore proteins. The gene has a pseudogene located on chromosome 3. Multiple alternatively spliced variants, encoding the same protein, have been identified.