The rise and fall of basal bodies in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans

Cilia. 2017 Jul 26;6:9. doi: 10.1186/s13630-017-0053-9. eCollection 2017.


The free-living nematode, Caenorhabditis elegans, is a widely used genetic model organism for investigations into centriole and cilia biology. Only sensory neurons are ciliated in C. elegans; morphologically diverse cilia in these neurons are nucleated by basal bodies located at the dendritic endings. C. elegans centrioles comprise a central tube with a symmetric array of nine singlet microtubules. These singlet microtubules remodel in a subset of sensory neurons to form the doublet microtubules of the basal bodies. Following initiation of ciliogenesis, the central tube, but not the outer centriole wall, of the basal body degenerates. Recent ultrastructural characterization of basal body architecture and remodeling have laid the foundation for future studies into mechanisms underlying different aspects of basal body genesis, remodeling, and intracellular positioning.

Keywords: Basal body; C. elegans; Central tube; Centriole; Degeneration; Diverse cilia morphologies; Sensory neurons; Ultrastructure.

Publication types

  • Review