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Cells 2015, 4(3), 500-519; doi:10.3390/cells4030500

Specialized Cilia in Mammalian Sensory Systems

Department of Biology, Animal Physiology, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, 91058 Erlangen, Germany
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Gang Dong and William Tsang
Received: 18 May 2015 / Revised: 4 August 2015 / Accepted: 9 September 2015 / Published: 11 September 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cilia and Flagella: Biogenesis and Function)
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Abstract

Cilia and flagella are highly conserved and important microtubule-based organelles that project from the surface of eukaryotic cells and act as antennae to sense extracellular signals. Moreover, cilia have emerged as key players in numerous physiological, developmental, and sensory processes such as hearing, olfaction, and photoreception. Genetic defects in ciliary proteins responsible for cilia formation, maintenance, or function underlie a wide array of human diseases like deafness, anosmia, and retinal degeneration in sensory systems. Impairment of more than one sensory organ results in numerous syndromic ciliary disorders like the autosomal recessive genetic diseases Bardet-Biedl and Usher syndrome. Here we describe the structure and distinct functional roles of cilia in sensory organs like the inner ear, the olfactory epithelium, and the retina of the mouse. The spectrum of ciliary function in fundamental cellular processes highlights the importance of elucidating ciliopathy-related proteins in order to find novel potential therapies. View Full-Text
Keywords: primary cilia; intraflagellar transport; kinocilium; inner ear; olfactory epithelium; retina; connecting cilium primary cilia; intraflagellar transport; kinocilium; inner ear; olfactory epithelium; retina; connecting cilium
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Falk, N.; Lösl, M.; Schröder, N.; Gießl, A. Specialized Cilia in Mammalian Sensory Systems. Cells 2015, 4, 500-519.

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