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Science. 2011 Mar 4;331(6021):1196-9. doi: 10.1126/science.1199325. Epub 2011 Jan 27.

Structures of SAS-6 suggest its organization in centrioles.

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  • 1Medical Research Council-Laboratory of Molecular Biology (MRC-LMB), Hills Road, Cambridge, UK. vanbreug@mrc-lmb.cam.ac.uk


Centrioles are cylindrical, ninefold symmetrical structures with peripheral triplet microtubules strictly required to template cilia and flagella. The highly conserved protein SAS-6 constitutes the center of the cartwheel assembly that scaffolds centrioles early in their biogenesis. We determined the x-ray structure of the amino-terminal domain of SAS-6 from zebrafish, and we show that recombinant SAS-6 self-associates in vitro into assemblies that resemble cartwheel centers. Point mutations are consistent with the notion that centriole formation in vivo depends on the interactions that define the self-assemblies observed here. Thus, these interactions are probably essential to the structural organization of cartwheel centers.

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