Cilia are very small, hair-like appendages. These mobile structures fulfill a multitude of tasks, such as performing as motors or antennas. In the brain, they provide a steady flow of nutritious fluid to the cells. However, much is still unknown about the function and the significance of cilia.
Now, new publications – with participation of caesar scientist Prof. Dagmar Wachten and her research group – deliver further insight into the mysterious structures. The study “Spatially organized ciliary beating compartmentalizes cerebrospinal fluid flow in the brain and regulates ventricular development” (“Current Biology”) examines how cilia function in the brain of zebrafish. Here, the authors found that cilia organize themselves to generate a directed, constant flow. The restriction of movement of the cilia will lead to developmental brain defects.
The study also utilized a new tool. ”SpermQ” allows for the examination of cilia in unprecedented detail. The tool, also developed by members of the Wachten group, has recently been published in the journal “Cells” (“SpermQ – A Simple Analysis Software to Comprehensively Study Flagellar Beating and Sperm Steering”).