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J Cell Sci. 2000 Apr;113 ( Pt 8):1355-64.

Differential expression and cellular distribution of centrin isoforms during human ciliated cell differentiation in vitro.

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Laboratoire de Cytophysiologie et Toxicologie Cellulaire, Université Paris 7, France.


Centrin protein is an ubiquitously expressed cytoskeletal component and is a member of the EF-hand superfamily of calcium-binding proteins. It was first discovered in the flagellar apparatus of unicellular green algae where it is involved in contraction of Ca(2+)-sensitive structures. Centrin protein is associated with centrosome-related structures such as spindle pole body in yeast, and centriole/basal bodies in flagellar and ciliated cells. Three centrin genes have been cloned in human cells. In this work, we have performed a comparative biochemical and functional analysis of centrin isoforms using a primary culture of human nasal epithelial cells which provides an efficient way to obtain a complete ciliated cell differentiation process. RT-PCR experiments show that the expression of the three human centrin genes increases during cell differentiation, and that only centrin 2 and 3 are expressed during cell proliferation. Using polyclonal antibodies raised against recombinant human centrin 2 and 3, we show a specific pattern of protein expression. Ultrastructural immunolocalization suggests that centrin proteins are involved in the early process of centriole assembly, as they are concentrated within the precursor structures of centriole/basal bodies. It also shows a differential localisation of centrin proteins in mature centriole/basal bodies, suggesting different functions for centrins 1/2 and centrin 3. This is also supported by functional analyses showing that centrin 1 and/or centrin 2 are involved in ciliary beating.

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