centriole(redirected from Centrioles)
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, process of nuclear division in a living cell by which the carriers of hereditary information, or the chromosomes, are exactly replicated and the two copies distributed to identical daughter nuclei.
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A morphologically complex cellular organelle at the focus of centrosomes in animal cells and some lower plant cells. Prokaryotes, some lower animal cells, higher plant cells, and a few exceptional higher animal cells do not have centrioles in their centrosomes. Centrioles typically are not found singly; the centrosome of higher animal cells contains a pair of centrioles (together called the diplosome), arranged at right angles to each other and separated by a distance ranging from 250 nanometers to several micrometers. See Centrosome
Centrioles are typically 300–700 nm in length and 250 nm in diameter. Although they can be detected by the light microscope, an electron microscope is required to resolve their substructure. At the electron microscopic level, a centriole consists of a hollow cylinder of nine triplet microtubules in a pinwheel arrangement (see illustration). Within each triplet, one microtubule (the A tubule) is a complete microtubule, while the others (the B and C tubules) share a portion of their wall with the adjacent tubule. In some cells these nine triplet microtubules are embedded in a densely staining cylindrical matrix that is spatially distinct from the pericentriolar material of the centrosome. Structures found in the lumen or core of the centriole include linkers between the triplets, granules, fibers, a cartwheel structure at one end of the centriole, and sometimes a small vesicle.
Centrioles have a close structural similarity to basal bodies, which organize the axoneme of cilia and flagella. In many types of mammalian somatic cells, the older of the two centrioles in the centrosome can act as a basal body during the interphase portion of the cell cycle. In such cases, tapered projections, called basal feet, are often observed on the external surface of the centriole that is acting as the basal body. Microtubules are attached to the globular tips of the basal feet and may serve to anchor this centriole in the cell.
During interphase the centrosome nucleates the array of cytoplasmic microtubules; later in the cell cycle the centrosome duplicates, and the daughter centrosomes form the poles of the mitotic (or meiotic) spindle. The terms “centriole” and “centrosome” are sometimes erroneously used interchangeably; centrioles are not the centrosome itself, but a part of it. The centrosome of higher animal cells has at its center a pair of centrioles, arranged at right angles to each other and separated by 250 nm or less.
The only clearly demonstrated role for the centriole is to organize the axoneme (central microtubular complex) of the primary cilium in cells having this structure, and the flagellar axoneme in sperm cells. Other possible functions for centrioles are a matter of debate. Some authorities assert that when present in the centrosome, centrioles contain activities that serve to organize the centrosome, determine the number of centrosomes in a cell, and control the doubling of the centrosome as a whole before mitosis. Others believe that centrioles have no role in the formation and doubling of the centrosomes but are associated with the centrosomes only to ensure the equal distribution of basal bodies during cell division. See Cell (biology)
a permanent structure in all animal cells and some plant cells; the main part of the mitotic center. The centrioles are surrounded by the centrosome. They are cylindrical and measure 0.2–0.8 micrometers in length. The wall of a centriole consists of nine groups of microtubules. Nondividing cells have two adjacent centrioles. During cell division the centrioles separate and migrate to opposite poles, thereby determining the axis of the spindle. In the absence of centrioles, their function is performed by membrane elements collected at the poles of the cell.