The ciliary transition zone: from morphology and molecules to medicine

Trends Cell Biol. 2012 Apr;22(4):201-10. doi: 10.1016/j.tcb.2012.02.001. Epub 2012 Mar 6.


Researchers from various disciplines, including cell and developmental biology, genetics and molecular medicine, have revealed an exceptional diversity of cellular functions that are mediated by cilia-dependent mechanisms. Recent studies have directed our attention to proteins that localize to the ciliary transition zone (TZ), a small evolutionarily conserved subcompartment that is situated between the basal body (BB) and the more distal ciliary axoneme. These reports shed light on the roles of TZ proteins in ciliogenesis, ciliary protein homeostasis and specification of ciliary signaling, and pave the way for understanding their contribution to human ciliopathies. In this review, we describe the interplay of multimeric protein complexes at the TZ, integrating morphological, genetic and proteomic data towards an account of TZ function in ciliary physiology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Transport
  • Cilia / chemistry*
  • Cilia / ultrastructure
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Phenotype
  • Signal Transduction