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EMBO J. 2012 Feb 1;31(3):552-62. doi: 10.1038/emboj.2011.460. Epub 2011 Dec 13.

Three-dimensional structure of basal body triplet revealed by electron cryo-tomography.

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  • 1The Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94158-2517, USA.

Abstract

Basal bodies and centrioles play central roles in microtubule (MT)-organizing centres within many eukaryotes. They share a barrel-shaped cylindrical structure composed of nine MT triplet blades. Here, we report the structure of the basal body triplet at 33 Å resolution obtained by electron cryo-tomography and 3D subtomogram averaging. By fitting the atomic structure of tubulin into the EM density, we built a pseudo-atomic model of the tubulin protofilaments at the core of the triplet. The 3D density map reveals additional densities that represent non-tubulin proteins attached to the triplet, including a large inner circular structure in the basal body lumen, which functions as a scaffold to stabilize the entire basal body barrel. We found clear longitudinal structural variations along the basal body, suggesting a sequential and coordinated assembly mechanism. We propose a model in which δ-tubulin and other components participate in the assembly of the basal body.

PMID:
22157822
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3273388
Free PMC Article

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