Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Microstructure of cilia: Structure, protein elements critical to human function, disease uncovered

Date:
June 25, 2014
Source:
University of Minnesota Academic Health Center
Summary:
New structures discovered within cilia show a relationship between certain proteins and juvenile myoclonic epilepsy. The discovery sheds new light on the microstructure of cilia. Cilia are microscopic, hair-like structures occurring in large numbers on the surface of some of the body's cells and are involved in movement and perception. Cilia are composed of double microtubules, which are in turn composed of protofilaments.

New structures discovered within cilia show a relationship between certain proteins and juvenile myoclonic epilepsy. The discovery, made at the University of Minnesota, was named paper of the week in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, and sheds new light on the microstructure of cilia.

Related Articles


Cilia are microscopic, hair-like structures occurring in large numbers on the surface of some of the body's cells and are involved in movement and perception. Cilia are composed of double microtubules, which are in turn composed of protofilaments.

Richard Linck, Ph.D., professor in the College of Biological Sciences and the Medical School at the University of Minnesota, worked closely with a team to identify specialized ribbons of four protofilaments within the microtubules of cilia. The function of these ribbons had been elusive to researchers, but unlocking the function of these elements improves understanding of how they fit into the bigger picture.

Utilizing cryo-electron tomography and sea urchin sperm tails, researchers identified a single ribbon of four protofilaments in each microtubule, with each microtubule containing a single filament of the protein tektin. Despite the extremely high resolution and protofilament ribbon identifications, there is still a small zone of confusion where the filament meets the ribbon. Thus, it is remains unclear how the filament fits into the structure of the ribbon.

"This discovery may not seem like a giant leap, but it does help us answer some pretty major questions," said Linck. "This structural mapping, similar to taking apart an engine to understand the subcomponents, allows us to see inside cilia. We're getting the highest resolution on this structure to date and finding where the parts belong and how they contribute to the overall structure and function."

As part of the push for structural mapping, Linck and his research team applied biochemical analysis to the ribbon. In this assessment, several proteins have been localized to the ribbon, including tektin and two others casually associated with human disease, including juvenile myoclonic epilepsy.

It is still unclear if the cilia are directly involved in the cause of the epilepsy and other diseases, or if the relevant proteins function in other, non-ciliary ways to cause disease. However, the mapping itself begins to unlock those clues.

Future research is needed to understand the relationship of these ribbon-associated proteins to human disease, as well as to better understand how the filament is structured in the larger ribbon.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Minnesota Academic Health Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Minnesota Academic Health Center. "Microstructure of cilia: Structure, protein elements critical to human function, disease uncovered." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140625151544.htm>.
University of Minnesota Academic Health Center. (2014, June 25). Microstructure of cilia: Structure, protein elements critical to human function, disease uncovered. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140625151544.htm
University of Minnesota Academic Health Center. "Microstructure of cilia: Structure, protein elements critical to human function, disease uncovered." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140625151544.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) In Africa's only biosafety level 4 laboratory, scientists have been carrying out experiments on bats to understand how virus like Ebola are being transmitted, and how some of them resist to it. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 27, 2014) A British palaeontologist has discovered a new species of dinosaur while studying fossils in a Canadian museum. Pentaceratops aquilonius was related to Triceratops and lived at the end of the Cretaceous Period, around 75 million years ago. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) Tryptophan, a chemical found naturally in turkey meat, gets blamed for sleepiness after Thanksgiving meals. But science points to other culprits. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Reuters - Entertainment Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) The iconic piano from "Casablanca" and the Cowardly Lion suit from "The Wizard of Oz" fetch millions at auction. Sara Hemrajani reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins