Cilia are microtubule-based structures that protrude from the cell surface and function as sensors for mechanical and chemical environmental cues that regulate cellular differentiation or division. In metazoans, ciliary signaling is important during organismal development and in the homeostasis controls of adult tissues, with receptors for the Hedgehog, platelet derived growth factor (PDGF), Wnt, and other signaling cascades arrayed and active along the ciliary membrane. In normal cells, cilia are dynamically regulated during cell cycle progression: present in G0 and G1 cells, and usually in S/G2 cells, but almost invariably resorbed before mitotic entry, to reappear post-cytokinesis. This periodic resorption and reassembly of cilia, specified by the intrinsic cell cycle the intrinsic cell cycle machinery, influences the susceptibility of cells to the influence of extrinsic signals with cilia-associated receptors. Pathogenic conditions of mammals associated with loss of or defects in ciliary integrity include a number of developmental disorders, cystic syndromes in adults, and some cancers. With the continuing expansion of the list of human diseases associated with ciliary abnormalities, the identification of the cellular mechanisms regulating ciliary growth and disassembly has become a topic of intense research interest. Although these mechanisms are far from being understood, a number of recent studies have begun to identify key regulatory factors that may begin to offer insight into disease pathogenesis and treatment. In this chapter we will discuss the current state of knowledge regarding cell cycle control of ciliary dynamics, and provide general methods that can be applied to investigate cell cycle-dependent ciliary growth and disassembly.
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