April 14, 2011

Biologists understand how valuable all organisms are, but we each have our own favorites. To a cell biologist studying basal bodies and cilia, Paramecium might be one of the most important organisms around. A recent paper looks at the role of a centriole duplication protein in Paramecium, and reminds us why this little protist is important.

Paramecium tetraurelia is frequently used in studies looking at basal body duplication for a very significant reason—they are covered in cilia. Basal bodies are short structures found at the base of cilia that anchor the cilia to the cell. Basal bodies are related to centrioles, which are found at the center of microtubule-organizing centrosomes. A recent paper describes results showing the roles of Sas4, a centriole duplication protein originally found in worms, in Paramecium. Gogendeau and colleagues found that Sas4 is similarly required for basal body duplication, with additional roles for Sas4 than found in other organisms. Images above show localization of Sas4 to basal bodies in a whole organism (left), with zoomed regions (right) providing a better view of basal bodies (top, red in merged) and Sas4 (middle, green in merged).

ResearchBlogging.orgGogendeau, D., Hurbain, I., Raposo, G., Cohen, J., Koll, F., & Basto, R. (2011). Sas-4 proteins are required during basal body duplication in Paramecium Molecular Biology of the Cell, 22 (7), 1035-1044 DOI: 10.1091/mbc.E10-11-0901

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