Cilia are finger-like protrusions on cells that work as sensors to help monitor and regulate the molecules that flow in and out of our cells. Within kidney cells, defective cilia can cause kidney disease. In a zebrafish model of kidney disease, researchers disrupted a protein called Tuba – which plays an important role in the molecular process of cilia function – and saw that this led to abnormal kidney development. Because cilia are present in a number of different organs, researchers also found that disrupting Tuba caused the build-up of fluid in the brain, swelling in the eyes, fluid build-up in the abdomen and a curly tail (pictured in bottom two rows compared with normal zebrafish in top two rows). Further understanding into how cilia become dysfunctional in these different organs will allow better insights into treating a wide range of conditions.
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