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Mol Cells. 2009 Feb 28;27(2):135-42. doi: 10.1007/s10059-009-0017-z. Epub 2009 Feb 20.

Ab ovo or de novo? Mechanisms of centriole duplication.

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Division of Translational Medicine, Wadsworth Center, New York State Department of Health, Albany, New York, 12201-0509, USA.


The centrosome, an organelle comprising centrioles and associated pericentriolar material, is the major microtubule organizing center in animal cells. For the cell to form a bipolar mitotic spindle and ensure proper chromosome segregation at the end of each cell cycle, it is paramount that the cell contains two and only two centrosomes. Because the number of centrosomes in the cell is determined by the number of centrioles, cells have evolved elaborate mechanisms to control centriole biogenesis and to tightly coordinate this process with DNA replication. Here we review key proteins involved in centriole assembly, compare two major modes of centriole biogenesis, and discuss the mechanisms that ensure stringency of centriole number.

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