Scientific Publication in Marine Biology - Physiology Team

In cell biology, cilia are organelles conserved during evolution, present on the surface of cells and found in unicellular as well as in multicellular organisms. In humans abnormalities in the formation or function of cilia, called ciliopathies, are implicated in diseases such as cancer, obesity, diabetes or bone disease. In corals, data from the literature show the presence of cilia in certain cell layers and their role in the transport of particles for nutrition. However, cilia have never been described in the layer of calcifying cells responsible for the formation of the skeleton.
Since the coral calcification mechanism is the research theme of the Coral Physiology team, these researchers carried out a study to determine whether cilia were present in calcifying cells. They used scanning electron microscopy and immunostaining techniques coupled with confocal microscopy in their investigation. Their observations show that the cilium of calcifying cells is a primary cilium: it is a short cilium which, by analogy with what is known in other organisms, should act as an information sensor of its microenvironment rather than being involved in the movement of particles.
This discovery opens up new research perspectives to determine the involvement of this cilium in the calcification process in corals, and to see if ciliogenesis in corals can be used as a model for the study of ciliopathies in humans.



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