New Data on Mechanism of Cilia Assembly; Pertinent to Polycystic Kideny Disease (PKD) and Other Ciliopathies

The group led by ICREA (Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies) Research Professor Cayetano Gonzalez at IRB Institute for Research in BiomedicineBarcelona, in collaboration with the group of Professor Giuliano Callaini from the University of Siena in Italy, has published a new study online on August 20, 2015 in Current Biology that contributes to understanding how cilia are assembled. The article is titled “Loss of Centrobin Enables Daughter Centrioles to Form Sensory Cilia in Drosophila.” Many cells in human bodies present a small structure that looks like, and as a matter of fact works as an antenna, conveying to the cell information on the extracellular environment. These structures are called cilia (plural) or cilium (singular). Ciliated cells play essential functions in the human body. Thus, for instance, the monitoring of fluid flow in the kidney, the detection of hormones in the brain, or the senses of hearing and smell depend on specialized neurons equipped with chemo-sensory or mechano-sensory cilia. Moreover, besides a sensory role, beating cilia keep fluids in motion in many parts of our bodies and are critical for human health. A cilium can be regarded as a long and thin protrusion of the cell membrane that contains microtubules. Ciliary microtubules are arranged in a typical radial symmetry that is conserved through evolution and is templated by a small organelle that sits at the base of the cilium, known as a basal body. Most animal cells contain two basal body-like structures (centrioles), but only one of them can actually work as basal body. In human cells, this is always the centriole that is said to be the "mother" because it was assembled earlier than the other, called the "daughter" centriole.
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