Forum 02/01/2007

“THE ROLE OF PRIMARY CILIA”

Peter Satir, Professor – Dept. of Anatomy & Structural Biology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University

Primary cilia are a neglected cell ogamelle, not discussed in current cell biology texts, but they are found on a wide variety of mammalian and human cells including kidney epithelium, neurons and fibroblasts. Recently using a transgenic mouse which is largely deficient in growing primary cilia, we have begun to understand that the function of these organelles depends on localization in the ciliary membrane of specific proteins and receptors, which are important for major signal transduction cascades, such as Shh, polycystin or PDGFRalpha signaling. Mislocalization leads to defects in cell growth and division, and to ciliopathies such as polycystic kidney disease (PKD). This implies that primary cilia are important chemo- and mechanical receptors contolling cell and tissue responses.

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