If you are a scientist (trained or at heart) reading this blog, you are likely a tinkerer. As a kid, you likely pulled apart all of your toys to figure out how they worked—maybe it was your basic water gun, your Etch-a-Sketch, or poor Teddy Ruxpin. Most biologists still do this today, but without their parents yelling at them about it. Today’s image is from a study identifying the components of primary cilia, which starts out with enough tinkering around to yank the cilia off of cells.
Primary cilia are found on many cells and serve as antenna to extracellular signals. Primary cilia are typically found one to each cell, and are important for many processes. Defects in primary cilia can cause a range of diseases called ciliopathies (polycystic kidney disease, for example). A recent study resulted in the identification of the proteins of primary cilia from mouse kidney cells. In this paper, Ishikawa and colleagues used a calcium-shock method to isolate the cilia from the cells, as seen in the images above. Before shock treatment (top), primary cilia (green) are seen on each cell. After treatment (middle), the isolated cilia (bottom) can be then analyzed for protein identification. From the 195 proteins identified, about 75% were proteins also seen in motile cilia or specialized cilia. About 25% were proteins only found in primary cilia, and will likely provide new insights to primary cilia biology and ciliopathies.
Ishikawa, H., Thompson, J., Yates, J., & Marshall, W. (2012). Proteomic Analysis of Mammalian Primary Cilia Current Biology, 22 (5), 414-419 DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2012.01.031
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