Cilia, hair-like protrusions, are common throughout our body. They can move cells, waft fluid and sense the surroundings. Pictured here are cilia (stained green) that sense head movement in zebrafish ear cells. The proteins that make up these ‘hairs’ must be exported from the cell (surface stained red) by proteins called kinesins. Kinesins constitute a large protein family with various important developmental roles. On the left a normal cell is visualised using a confocal microscope, with fully developed healthy cilia. When kinesin protein Kif3b is knocked-out (right) they’re still healthy. Cilia defects were found in these cells only when Kif3c was knocked-out. On the other hand, to grow a different type of cilia in zebrafish retina, kinesin type Kif3b is needed from day one. Discovering kinesin diversity helps in understanding how human cells develop and function.
Written by Rebecca Hill
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