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Curr Biol. 2001 Jun 26;11(12):R487-96.

Centrioles take center stage.

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Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06520, USA.


Centrioles are among the most beautiful and mysterious of all cell organelles. Although the ultrastructure of centrioles has been studied in great detail ever since the advent of electron microscopy, these studies raised as many questions as they answered, and for a long time both the function and mode of duplication of centrioles remained controversial. It is now clear that centrioles play an important role in cell division, although cells have backup mechanisms for dividing if centrioles are missing. The recent identification of proteins comprising the different ultrastructural features of centrioles has proven that these are not just figments of the imagination but distinct components of a large and complex protein machine. Finally, genetic and biochemical studies have begun to identify the signals that regulate centriole duplication and coordinate the centriole cycle with the cell cycle.

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