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Cilia. 2012 Oct 1;1(1):19. doi: 10.1186/2046-2530-1-19.

What are those cilia doing in the neural tube?

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  • 1Department of Human Genetics, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA. tcaspar@emory.edu.


Primary cilia are present on almost all vertebrate cells, and they have diverse functions in distinct tissues. Cilia are important for sensation in multiple capacities in contexts as different as the retina, kidney, and inner ear. In addition to these roles, cilia play a critical part in various developmental processes. Of particular importance is the development of the neural tube, where cilia are essential for the transduction of the Sonic Hedgehog (Shh) signaling pathway that specifies neuronal cell fates. This relationship is well established and is the most recognizable function for cilia in the neural tube, but it may be part of a larger picture. Here, we discuss the links between cilia and Shh signaling, as well as suggesting additional roles for cilia, and mechanisms for their placement, in the neural tube.

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