In addition to its roles in transcription and replication, topoisomerase 2 (topo 2) is crucial in shaping mitotic chromosomes and in ensuring the orderly separation of sister chromatids. As well as its recruitment throughout the length of the mitotic chromosome, topo 2 accumulates at the primary constriction. Here, following cohesin release, the enzymatic activity of topo 2 acts to remove residual sister catenations. Intriguingly, topo 2 does not bind and cleave all sites in the genome equally; one preferred site of cleavage is within the core centromere. Discrete topo 2-centromeric cleavage sites have been identified in α-satellite DNA arrays of active human centromeres and in the centromere regions of some protozoans. In this study, we show that topo 2 cleavage sites are also a feature of the centromere in Schizosaccharomyces pombe , the metazoan Drosophila melanogaster and in another vertebrate species, Gallus gallus (chicken). In vertebrates, we show that this site-specific cleavage is diminished by depletion of CENP-I, an essential constitutive centromere protein. The presence, within the core centromere of a wide range of eukaryotes, of precise sites hypersensitive to topo 2 cleavage suggests that these mark a fundamental and conserved aspect of this functional domain, such as a non-canonical secondary structure.