Primary cilia, thin hair-like structures protruding from the apical surface of most mammalian cells, have gained the attention of many researchers over the past decade. Primary cilia are microtubule-filled sensory organelles that are enclosed within the ciliary membrane. They originate at the cell surface from the mother centriole that becomes the mature basal body. In this review, we will discuss recent literatures on the roles of cilia as sophisticated sensory organelles. With particular emphasis on vascular endothelia and renal epithelia, the mechanosensory role of cilia in sensing fluid shear stress will be discussed. Also highlighted is the ciliary involvement in cell cycle regulation, development, cell signaling and cancer. Finally, primary cilia-related disorders will be briefly described.
AbouAlaiwi WA, Lo ST, Nauli SM. Primary cilia: highly sophisticated biological sensors. Sensors 2009; 9(9): 7003-20.
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