Centrosome Biogenesis & Function

Centrioles are essential for the formation of several microtubule (MT)-organizing structures including centrosomes, cilia and flagella. In the centrosome, two centrioles associate with the pericentriolar matrix (PCM), constituting the primary microtubule organizing centre in animal cells. In interphase or quiescent ciliated cells, at least one centriole, called basal-body, is tethered to the membrane, where it grows the axoneme, the MT-based structure of cilia and flagella. For reviews see Bettencourt-Dias & Glover (2007), Cunha-Ferreira et al (2009).

Our research questions are:

Collaborators: Jose Pereira-Leal (IGC); David M Glover (U. Cambridge, UK); Ryoko Kuriyama (U. Minnesota, USA); Carsten Janke (CRBM, Montpellier, FR); Giuliano Callaini (U. Siena, Italy); Eric Karsenti (EMBL)

Image Centrioles/Basal bodies have a dual life: as a centriole within a centrosome, or tethered at the membrane, as a basalbody, templating the formation of axonemes, the microtubule-based structure of cilia and flagella. The Centrosome is constituted by two centrioles: the mother, with appendages (represented in a blue circle) and the daughter. It also has pericentriolar material (blue gradient) which is important in the nucleation of microtubules. Axonemes within cilia and flagella may have different ultrastructure dependending on their motility. In general, motile cilia/flagella have an axoneme with 9 outer doublets and a central pair, while axonemes from non-motile cilia do not normally have the central pair.