“It’s a basic discovery, but with implications for understanding disease,” said Jonathan Scholey, professor of molecular and cellular biology at UC Davis and senior author of the study. Understanding how cilia are assembled and function can help scientists understand how conditions such as polycystic kidney disease and some growth and development disorders arise.
Cilia are built from bundles of microtubules made of a protein called tubulin. Scholey’s team discovered how two subunits of tubulin are winched into place by a type of protein motor belonging to a family of proteins called kinesins.
Scholey’s laboratory works with the soil roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans, whose cilia are essentially the same as those of humans and other mammals. Postdoctoral scholar Limin Hao, Scholey and their colleagues screened a collection of worms for those with mutations that affected the cilia.
They found two genes which, when mutated, caused worms to lose the tips of their cilia. Both genes turned out to be subunits of tubulin that are assembled into different parts of the microtubule: one is found all along the microtubule, and the other is concentrated at the tip.
The UC Davis team used a combination of microscopy, molecular biology and computer modeling to study these two proteins. They found that both are moved into position by so-called kinesin-2 motors.
At one time, researchers had seen cilia as purely for movement, either moving a swimming cell through a fluid or moving fluid and suspended particles over the cell’s surface, Scholey said.
But in the late 1990s, researchers discovered that cilia were also involved in detecting signaling molecules that control gene expression and cell behavior. This signaling is vital for coordinating cell growth and the orderly development of tissues, for example in establishing left/right asymmetry in developing embryos.
“Recent work shows that cilia are ubiquitous in signaling,” Scholey said. In earlier work, Scholey’s lab linked a defect in the kinesins that assemble cilia to Bardet-Biedl disease, which causes blindness, kidney disease and learning difficulties.
Coauthors of the paper are: Melanie Thein, Ingrid Brust-Mascher, Gul Civelekoglu-Scholey and Seyda Acar, all at UC Davis; Yun Lu and Shai Shaham, Rockefeller University, New York; and Bram Prevo, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands, who was a visiting scholar in Scholey’s laboratory. Hao is now a researcher at Harvard Medical School and Thein is now a writer/editor at the UC Davis Cancer Center. The work was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health.Media contact(s):
Andy Fell, UC Davis News Service, (530) 752-4533, email@example.com
Andy Fell | EurekAlert!
Atomic-level motion may drive bacteria's ability to evade immune system defenses
24.04.2017 | Indiana University
Two-dimensional melting of hard spheres experimentally unravelled after 60 years
24.04.2017 | University of Oxford
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
24.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.04.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.04.2017 | Life Sciences