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Science. 2006 Aug 4;313(5787):629-33.

The primary cilium as the cell's antenna: signaling at a sensory organelle.

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Program in Developmental and Stem Cell Biology, and Diabetes Center, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94143-0525, USA.


Almost every vertebrate cell has a specialized cell surface projection called a primary cilium. Although these structures were first described more than a century ago, the full scope of their functions remains poorly understood. Here, we review emerging evidence that in addition to their well-established roles in sight, smell, and mechanosensation, primary cilia are key participants in intercellular signaling. This new appreciation of primary cilia as cellular antennae that sense a wide variety of signals could help explain why ciliary defects underlie such a wide range of human disorders, including retinal degeneration, polycystic kidney disease, Bardet-Biedl syndrome, and neural tube defects.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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