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J Struct Biol. 1997 Nov;120(2):117-33.

Reconstruction of the centrosome cycle from cryoelectron micrographs.

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European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Heidelberg, Postfach 1022.09, D-69117, Germany.


The absence of detailed in vitro studies leaves the molecular events involved in the centrosome cycle poorly characterized. Most earlier studies have employed electron microscopy of thin or thick sections of cells. Here we have analyzed the structure of centrosomes isolated from nonsynchronized human lymphoblastic KE37 cells using cryoelectron microscopy of vitrified specimens. The centrosomes were classified into five categories depending on the number of centrioles (one or two), the respective orientation of the two centrioles in a pair (orthogonal or disoriented), and the presence or absence of appendages at the distal extremity of the centrioles (referred to as mature and immature, respectively). A detailed analysis of the centriole dimensions in these categories allowed us to reconstruct the centrosome cycle in KE37 cells. Our results suggest that centriole assembly is completed only when the mother centriole of an immature orthogonal pair separates from its daughter in preparation to centrosome duplication. Our study shows that an in vitro approach based on cryoelectron microscopy of vitrified specimens can be used to obtain detailed structural information on the centrosome cycle.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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