Workgroup 10

Centrosomes and Cilia

Workgroup 10 “Centrosomes and Cilia”


Dagmar Wachten

David Mick


Cilia and centrosomes constitute subcellular compartments that are both assembled by the same ancient microtubule-based structure – the centrioles. Centrosomes serve as microtubule-organizing centers, thereby controlling a variety of intracellular processes, such as proliferation, division, and signaling. Cilia are either motile (flagella and motile cilia) or immotile (primary cilia) and play central roles in locomotion, fluid movement, and cellular signaling. Understanding the functional relationship between centrosomes and cilia is important because defects in both structures have been implicated in various diseases. Centrosome aberrations are commonly observed in cancer but have also been linked to developmental disorders, i.e., microcephaly. Ciliopathies are disorders that arise from cilia dysfunction and affect almost all organs. Prevalent phenotypes include primary cilia dyskinesia, polycystic kidney disease, retinal degeneration, infertility, or brain abnormalities. Understanding the biogenesis of cilia and centrioles as well as identifying the molecular components and mechanisms that determine their structure and function are central and fascinating research topics in cell biology.