Intracellular connections between basal bodies promote the coordinated behavior of motile cilia

Adam W.J. Soh, Louis G. Woodhams, Anthony D. Junker, Cassidy M. Enloe, Benjamin E. Noren, Adam Harned, Christopher J. Westlake, Kedar Narayan, John S. Oakey, Philip V. Bayly, Chad G. Pearson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Hydrodynamic flow produced by multiciliated cells is critical for fluid circulation and cell motility. Hundreds of cilia beat with metachronal synchrony for fluid flow. Cilia-driven fluid flow produces extracellular hydrodynamic forces that cause neighboring cilia to beat in a synchronized manner. However, hydrodynamic coupling between neighboring cilia is not the sole mechanism that drives cilia synchrony. Cilia are nucleated by basal bodies (BBs) that link to each other and to the cell’s cortex via BB-associated appendages. The intracellular BB and cortical network is hypothesized to synchronize ciliary beating by transmitting cilia coordination cues. The extent of intracellular ciliary connections and the nature of these stimuli remain unclear. Moreover, how BB connections influence the dynamics of individual cilia has not been established. We show by focused ion beam scanning electron microscopy imaging that cilia are coupled both longitudinally and laterally in the ciliate Tetrahymena thermophila by the underlying BB and cortical cytoskeletal network. To visualize the behavior of individual cilia in live, immobilized Tetrahymena cells, we developed Delivered Iron Particle Ubiety Live Light (DIPULL) microscopy. Quantitative and computer analyses of ciliary dynamics reveal that BB connections control ciliary waveform and coordinate ciliary beating. Loss of BB connections reduces cilia-dependent fluid flow forces.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberbr18
JournalMolecular biology of the cell
Issue number11
StatePublished - Sep 15 2022


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