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Researchers demystifying complex cellular communications hubs found in sensory neurons
Date:7/7/2010

composed of two segments that are connected by a cilium responsible for transporting proteins from one end to the other. If that protein movement slows down or stops due to cilium malfunction, the protein accumulates abnormally and induces retinal cell death.

"Retinitis pigmentosa is one of the leading causes of adult vision loss, and yet there is no cure for it," he said. "Recent studies have shown that at least 35 genes are involved. Importantly, some of them are related to cilia formation and maintenance. This important function of cilia could be regulated by the level of polyglutamylation, which is controlled by the level of newly found enzyme."

While Setou's team focused exclusively on cilia found in sensory neurons for their experiments, the findings may prove useful in other types of cilia as well. Defective cilia lining the kidney, for example, can lead to polycystic kidney disease. Mammals rely on cilia lining reproductive organs: If there are too few functional cilia in the Fallopian tubes, which are tasked with moving a fertilized egg into proper position for growth, the ovum may hunker down too soon, causing a tubal pregnancy. Meanwhile, what are known as chemoreceptor cilia, found on olfactory neurons, detect odor.


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Contact: Angela Hopp
ahopp@asbmb.org
301-634-7389
American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Source:Eurekalert

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