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Primary Cilia: the sensory organs of our cells?

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on 6 December 2013

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Transcript of Primary Cilia: the sensory organs of our cells?

Primary Cilia:
The sensory organs of our cells?
Motile Cilia
Unlike motile cilia, primary cilia do not follow the 9+2 system, instead they have a 9+0 configuration.
The structure of a solitary cilium
What does the primary cilium do?
...a lot of things, such as:
Sensing & translating mechanical stress
Chemical sensation & pathway signalling
Sensing gravity?
Mechanosensation in kidney cells
Flowing fluid exerts a force on solitary cilia, bending them.
Reaction: calcium flows into the cell from the extracellular fluid.
Mechanosensation in bone cells
Bones change in shape and density due to external load.
Load could cause pressure changes that would affect primary cilia.
Tissue-specific pathways!
Sonic Hedgehog signalling pathway
Hedgehog complex on primary cilia.
'Patched' senses & binds to Shh.
'Patched' leaves the primary cilium.
'Smoothened' binds to Shh and produces a signal.
Sensing gravity?
Rohon beard neurons change levels of gene expression depending on gravity.
When primary cilia are not functional, they are incapable of doing this.
Such an important organelle can naturally cause a lot of trouble...
Polycystic kidney disease
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