Centriole structure & function

Centrioles are evolutionarily conserved microtubule-based cylindrical structures that in human cells are ~450 nm long and ~250 nm in outer diameter. The centriole composes the centrosome in animal cells and can act as a basal body to template cilia or flagella in many eukaryotes. Centrioles are critical for the proper execution of several important biological processes, such as spindle assembly and cell signaling through the primary cilium as well as cells and fluids motion thanks to motile cilia/flagella. Therefore, centriolar defects have been associated to several pathologies including ciliopathies, sterility, microcephaly and cancer.

Centriole (also called basal body) is amongst the largest macromolecular complex of the human cell


Exquisite details of the overall molecular architecture of the centriole are lacking to understand the basis of centriole organisation and function. Resolving this important question represents a challenge that needs to be undertaken. By combining the use of innovative and multidisciplinary techniques encompassing cryo-electron tomography, Ultrastructure Expansion Microscopy, and in vitro assays, our aim is to achieve a comprehensive structural view of the centriole. Altogether, we expect that these advances will help understand basic principles underlying centriole and cilia function as well as might have further relevance for human health.