The centrosome in vertebrates: more than a microtubule-organizing center

Trends Cell Biol. 2001 Oct;11(10):413-9. doi: 10.1016/s0962-8924(01)02085-2.


The somatic cells of all higher animals contain a single minute organelle called the centrosome. For years, the functions of the centrosome were thought to revolve around its ability to nucleate and organize the various microtubule arrays seen in interphase and mitosis. But the centrosome is more than just a microtubule-organizing center. Recent work reveals that this organelle is essential for cell-cycle progression and that this requirement is independent of its ability to organize microtubules. Here, we review the various functions attributed to the centrosome and ask which are essential for the survival and reproduction of the cell, the organism, or both.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Centrioles / physiology*
  • Centrioles / ultrastructure
  • Centrosome / physiology*
  • Centrosome / ultrastructure
  • Cilia / ultrastructure
  • G1 Phase / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Microtubules / physiology
  • Microtubules / ultrastructure
  • Spindle Apparatus / physiology*
  • Spindle Apparatus / ultrastructure