Cilia biology

Evolutionarily conserved organelles that are specialized for sensory functions

Cilia are microtubule-based organelles that display diversity in morphology, ultrastructure, protein composition, and function. The ciliary microtubules of C. elegans sensory neurons exemplify this diversity and provide a paradigm to understand mechanisms driving ciliary specialization. For example, a subset of neuron are specialized to make and release bioactive EVs into the environment. The cilia of extracellular vesicle releasing neurons have distinct axonemal features and specialized intraflagellar transport that are important for releasing EVs. We continue to explore the role of the tubulin code in the specialization of microtubules in cilia of EV releasing neurons and other ciliated neurons in the worm. (Image reproduced from Akella, Silva, et al 2019)


Power, K.M., Akella, J.S., Gu, A., Walsh, J.D., Bellotti, S., Morash, M., Zhang, W., Ramadan, Y.H., Ross, N., Golden, A., Smith, H.E., Barr, M.M., O’Hagan, R. (2020). Mutation of the NEKL-4/NEK10 and TTLL genes suppress neurodegeneration caused by loss of the CCPP-1 deglutamylase function. PLoS Genetics.

Akella, J.S., Silva, M., Morsci, N.S., Nguyen, K.C., Rice, W.J., Hall, D.H., Barr, M.M. (2019) Cell-type specific structural plasticity of the transition zone in C. elegans. Biol Cell. 111(4):95-107.

O’Hagan, R, Silva, M, Nguyen KC, Zhang, W., Bellotti, S, Ramadan, YH, Hall DH, Barr MM. (2017) Glutamylation Regulates Transport, Specializes Function, and Sculpts the Structure of Cilia. Current Biology

Silva M, Morsci N, Nguyen KC, Rizvi A, Rongo C, Hall DH, Barr MM. (2017) Cell-Specific α-Tubulin Isotype Regulates Ciliary Microtubule Ultrastructure, Intraflagellar Transport, and Extracellular Vesicle Biology. Current Biology

Wang, J., Kaletski, R., Silva, M., Williams, A., Haas, L.A., Androwski, R.J., Landis, J.N., Patrick, C., Rashid, C., Santiago-Martinez, D., Gravato-Noble, M., Hodgkin, J., Hall, D.H., Murphy, C.T. and Barr, M.M. (2015). Cell Specific Transcriptional Profiling of Ciliated Extracellular Vesicle Releasing Neurons Reveals Regulators of Behavior and Extracellular Vesicle Biogenesis. Current Biology

Maguire, J. E., Silva, M., Nguyen, K. C. Q., Hellen, E., Kern, A. D., Hall, D. H., & Barr, M. M. (2015). Myristoylated CIL-7 regulates ciliary extracellular vesicle biogenesis. Molecular Biology of the Cell.

Wang, J., Silva, M., Haas, L. A., Morsci, N. S., Nguyen, K. C. Q., Hall, D. H., and Barr, M. M. (2014). C. elegans Ciliated Sensory Neurons Release Extracellular Vesicles that Function in Animal Communication. Current Biology.

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