Making cells turn cartwheels

Models of centrioles showing the cartwheel with nine spokes at the centre. Background: electron microscope image of the centrioles. Courtesy of Dr Ioannis Vakonakis

Centrioles are barrel-shaped connection hubs that, like key Meccano parts, hold together the microtubule connection rods that form the structural framework of the cells in our bodies.

As cells grow and divide, they replicate their DNA before splitting into two daughter cells. Cells also duplicate centrioles every cell division, but much less is understood about the centriole formation. And as you might expect, errors in the formation of a critical component like a centriole are implicated in a number of conditions.

Dr Ioannis (John) Vakonakis, a Wellcome Trust Research Fellow in Oxford University’s Department of Biochemistry , has worked with Swiss scientists on the structure of centrioles. They have just published a study in the journal Cell that offers conclusive evidence for what makes up a cartwheel structure with nine spokes seen at the centre of centrioles

Read what Dr. Vakonakis has to say here Making cells turn cartwheels.

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