The mechanisms that determine the shape and organization of cells remain largely unknown. Green algae such as Chlamydomonas provide excellent model systems for studying cell geometry owing to their highly reproducible cell organization. Structural and genetic studies suggest that asymmetry of the centriole (basal body) plays a critical determining role in organizing the internal organization of algal cells, through the attachment of microtubule rootlets and other large fiber systems to specific sets of microtubule triplets on the centriole. Thus to understand cell organization, it will be critical to understand how the different triplets of the centriole come to have distinct molecular identities.
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