Dissecting the Axoneme Structure: New Insights into an Old Organelle

Dr. Ron Orbach; Department of Cell Biology, Yale University

Motile cilia are hair-like appendages that are used by most eukaryotic organisms to
generate fluid flow or motility. The elongated shape of the cilium is supported by a
microtubule-based structure, the ‘‘axoneme,’’ which spans almost the entire length of the cilium and characterized by a unique architectural design and remarkable structural properties. Thus, constitutes the largest macromolecular machine of eukaryotic cells.
Here, I will describe the development of a novel procedure to differentially disrupt the axoneme structure and provides new insights into the ciliary scaffold. I will further discuss the remarkable structural stability of the cilia and a few of the mechanisms that enable axonemal microtubules to support it, despite their intrinsic property of instability/