Reconstitution reveals motor activation for intraflagellar transport

Journal: Nature

Published: 2018-05-09

DOI: 10.1038/s41586-018-0105-3

Affiliations: 2

Authors: 3

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Research Highlight

Jumping on board ciliary transport

© Science Photo Library - STEVE GSCHMEISSNER/Getty

© Science Photo Library - STEVE GSCHMEISSNER/Getty

Scientists have recreated the mechanism responsible for the assembly and maintenance of cilia, which could lead to a better understanding of how diseases including blindness, and male infertility occur.

Cilia are hair-like structures that protrude from human and animal cells, involved in a range of critical functions, from the mobility of sperm, to the differentiation of organs in developing embryos. However, very little is known about the biochemical processes behind these functions.

Now, researchers from the Technical University of Munich in Germany have found the combination of four proteins responsible for intraflagellar transport (IFT), a mechanism that transports cellular material from a cell and back and that lead to the formation and maintenance of cilia.

"When we saw the images of the fluorescence microscope, we immediately knew: Now we have found the parts of the puzzle that start the engine," Zeynep Ökten outlined in a press release. 

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  1. Nature 557, 387-391 (2018). doi: 10.1038/s41586-018-0105-3
Institutions Share
Technical University of Munich (TUM), Germany 0.83
Cluster of Excellence - Munich Center for Integrated Protein Science Munich (CiPS-M), LMU, Germany 0.17