Background: Centrioles are cylindrical microtubule-based structures whose assembly is critical for the formation of cilia, flagella, and centrosomes. The centriole proximal region harbors a cartwheel that dictates the 9-fold symmetry of centrioles. Although the cartwheel architecture has been recently analyzed, how it connects to the peripheral microtubules is not understood. More generally, a high-resolution view of the proximal region of the centriole is lacking, thus limiting understanding of the underlying assembly mechanisms.
Results: We report the complete architecture of the Trichonympha centriole proximal region using cryotomography. The resulting 3D map reveals several features, including additional densities in the cartwheel that exhibit a 9-fold symmetrical arrangement, as well as the structure of the Pinhead and the A-C linker that connect to microtubules. Moreover, we uncover striking chiral features that might impart directionality to the entire centriole. Furthermore, we identify Trichonympha SAS-6 and demonstrate that it localizes to the cartwheel in vivo.
Conclusions: Our work provides unprecedented insight into the architecture of the centriole proximal region, which is key for a thorough understanding of the mechanisms governing centriole assembly.
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