The Cilium: Cellular Antenna and Central Processing Unit

Trends Cell Biol. 2017 Feb;27(2):126-140. doi: 10.1016/j.tcb.2016.08.002. Epub 2016 Sep 12.


Cilia mediate an astonishing diversity of processes. Recent advances provide unexpected insights into the regulatory mechanisms of cilium formation, and reveal diverse regulatory inputs that are related to the cell cycle, cytoskeleton, proteostasis, and cilia-mediated signaling itself. Ciliogenesis and cilia maintenance are regulated by reciprocal antagonistic or synergistic influences, often acting in parallel to each other. By receiving parallel inputs, cilia appear to integrate multiple signals into specific outputs and may have functions similar to logic gates of digital systems. Some combinations of input signals appear to impose higher hierarchical control related to the cell cycle. An integrated view of these regulatory inputs will be necessary to understand ciliogenesis and its wider relevance to human biology.

Keywords: actin cytoskeleton; autophagy; cell cycle; ciliogenesis; mTOR pathway; primary cilium.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Actin Cytoskeleton / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Cell Cycle
  • Cilia / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Organogenesis
  • Proteostasis
  • Signal Transduction