Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2011

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Molecular, Cellular, & Developmental Biology

First Advisor

Dr. Mark Winey

Abstract

Basal bodies are microtubule organizing centers responsible for anchoring and organizing the cilium. Cilia are found on nearly every mammalian cell type and are important for various cellular functions including fluid movement and sensing the surrounding environment. A widely conserved component known to be important at basal bodies is centrin, a small Ca2+ binding protein. Centrins divide into two groups based on sequence comparison to the human centrins, hsCETN2 and hsCETN3. Here, we utilized the ciliate Tetrahymena to examine the distinct nature of the two centrin groups through an analysis of Cen2, a hsCETN3 homolog. The results indicate that Cen2 is a basal body component and important for basal body stability and orientation. Our data suggest that the two centrin groups have distinct roles at basal bodies.

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