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J Cell Biochem. 2007 Mar 1;100(4):916-22.

What is the function of centrioles?

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Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA.


The function of centrioles has been controversial and remains incompletely resolved. This is because centrioles, in and of themselves, do not directly perform any physiological activity. Instead, their role is only to act as a jig or breadboard onto which other functional structures can be built. Centrioles are primarily involved in forming two structures-centrosomes and cilia. Centrioles bias the position of spindle pole formation, but because spindle poles can self-organize, the function of the centriole in mitosis is not obligatory. Consequently, lack of centrioles does not generally prevent mitosis, although recent experiments suggest acentriolar spindles have reduced fidelity of chromosome segregation. In contrast, centrioles are absolutely required for the assembly of cilia, including primary cilia that act as cellular antennae. Consistent with this requirement, it is now becoming clear that many ciliary diseases, including nephronophthisis, Bardet-Biedl syndrome, Meckel Syndrome, and Oral-Facial-Digital syndrome, are caused by defects in centriole-associated proteins.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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