The emerging complexity of the vertebrate cilium: new functional roles for an ancient organelle

Dev Cell. 2006 Jul;11(1):9-19. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2006.06.009.


Cilia and flagella are found on the surface of a strikingly diverse range of cell types. These intriguing organelles, with their unique and highly adapted protein transport machinery, have been studied extensively in the context of cellular locomotion, sexual reproduction, or fluid propulsion. However, recent studies are beginning to show that in vertebrates particularly, cilia have been recruited to perform additional developmental and homeostatic roles. Here, we review advances in deciphering the functional components of cilia, and we explore emerging trends that implicate ciliary proteins in signal transduction and morphogenetic pathways.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution
  • Chemoreceptor Cells / physiology
  • Cilia / physiology*
  • Cilia / ultrastructure
  • Hedgehog Proteins
  • Humans
  • Mechanoreceptors / physiology
  • Models, Biological
  • Morphogenesis
  • Movement
  • Proteome
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Signal Transduction
  • Trans-Activators / physiology
  • Vertebrates / anatomy & histology
  • Vertebrates / physiology*
  • Wnt Proteins / physiology


  • Hedgehog Proteins
  • Proteome
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Trans-Activators
  • Wnt Proteins