The Centriole Mystique

Trends Cell Biol. 2020 Aug;30(8):590-593. doi: 10.1016/j.tcb.2020.05.001. Epub 2020 May 23.


Centrioles organize the microtubule network and mitotic spindle and, as basal bodies, nucleate cilia and flagella. They undergo a beguiling process in which one appears to give rise to another and at a baffling orthogonal geometry. Nucleic acid-based replication has been pondered during cycles of zeniths and nadirs of plausibility, the latter now the state. Centrioles can also arise de novo, and thus the longstanding focus on centriole 'replication' may have led us astray from ground truth. We are in an era in which the assembly pathways of most intracellular machines are becoming understood in considerable detail. But apart from knowing the structure and parts list, little in our extant knowledge conveys how centrioles arise. Here the matters at hand are summarized, and a siren call is sounded.

Keywords: centriole; centrosome; genomic control; self-assembly; templated replication.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Ascaris / cytology
  • Centrioles / metabolism*
  • Ferns / cytology
  • Humans
  • Nucleic Acids / metabolism


  • Nucleic Acids