Whip it good: getting a better look at the structure and function of cilia
Cilia are hair-like organelles that move like whips to generate motion. Whether acting as lone rangers to propel single-celled organisms or in large numbers to propel fluids in our lungs and brain, these mechanical oscillators exhibit complex dynamics and complex microtubular structures. The ciliary tip is a critical component and among the least understood. The EU-funded SILIA project is developing a microscope technique that will help elucidate the structure of the ciliary tip and cilia assembly. The structural insight will be evaluated in the context of all the proteins associated with the tip, and, via experimental reconstruction, it will lead to a greater understanding of tip function.