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Open Access Highly Accessed Review

Centrosomes in the zebrafish (Danio rerio): a review including the related basal body

Charles A Lessman

Author Affiliations

Department of Biological Sciences, The University of Memphis, Life Sciences 223, Memphis, TN 38152, USA

Cilia 2012, 1:9  doi:10.1186/2046-2530-1-9

Published: 7 June 2012

Abstract

Ever since Edouard Van Beneden and Theodor Boveri first formally described the centrosome in the late 1800s, it has captivated cell biologists. The name clearly indicated its central importance to cell functioning, even to these early investigators. We now know of its role as a major microtubule-organizing center (MTOC) and of its dynamic roles in cell division, vesicle trafficking and for its relative, the basal body, ciliogenesis. While centrosomes are found in most animal cells, notably it is absent in most oocytes and higher plant cells. Nevertheless, it appears that critical components of the centrosome act as MTOCs in these cells as well. The zebrafish has emerged as an exciting and promising new model organism, primarily due to the pioneering efforts of George Streisinger to use zebrafish in genetic studies and due to Christiane Nusslein-Volhard, Wolfgang Driever and their teams of collaborators, who applied forward genetics to elicit a large number of mutant lines. The transparency and rapid external development of the embryo allow for experiments not easily done in other vertebrates. The ease of producing transgenic lines, often with the use of fluorescent reporters, and gene knockdowns with antisense morpholinos further contributes to the appeal of the model as an experimental system. The added advantage of high-throughput screening of small-molecule libraries, as well as the ease of mass rearing together with low cost, makes the zebrafish a true frontrunner as a model vertebrate organism. The zebrafish has a body plan shared by all vertebrates, including humans. This conservation of body plan provides added significance to the existing lines of zebrafish as human disease models and adds an impetus to the ongoing efforts to develop new models. In this review, the current state of knowledge about the centrosome in the zebrafish model is explored. Also, studies on the related basal body in zebrafish and their relationship to ciliogenesis are reviewed.

Keywords:
γ-tubulin; spindle; cilium; centriole; centrin; microtubule; MTOC