The centrosome in cells and organisms

Science. 2012 Jan 27;335(6067):422-6. doi: 10.1126/science.1209037.


The centrosome acts as the main microtubule-nucleating organelle in animal cells and plays a critical role in mitotic spindle orientation and in genome stability. Yet, despite its central role in cell biology, the centrosome is not present in all multicellular organisms or in all cells of a given organism. The main outcome of centrosome reproduction is the transmission of polarity to daughter cells and, in most animal species, the sperm-donated centrosome defines embryo polarity. Here I will discuss the role of the centrosome in cell polarity, resulting from its ability to position the nucleus at the cell center, and discuss how centrosome innovation might have been critical during metazoan evolution.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Cell Movement
  • Cell Nucleus / physiology*
  • Cell Nucleus / ultrastructure
  • Cell Polarity*
  • Centrioles / physiology*
  • Centrosome / chemistry
  • Centrosome / physiology*
  • Centrosome / ultrastructure
  • Cilia / physiology
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / physiology
  • Embryonic Development
  • Fertilization
  • Humans
  • Spindle Apparatus / physiology
  • Spindle Apparatus / ultrastructure