AskDefine | Define centriole

Dictionary Definition

centriole n : one of two small cylindrical cell organelles composes of 9 triplet microtubules; form the asters during mitosis

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. A barrel shaped microtubule structure found in most animal cells, important in the process of mitosis (nuclear division).

Extensive Definition

A centriole is a barrel shaped organelle found in most animal eukaryotic cells, though absent in higher plants and fungi. The walls of each centriole are usually composed of nine triplets of microtubules (protein of the cytoskeleton). Deviations from this structure include Drosophila melanogaster embryos, with nine doublets, and Caenorhabditis elegans sperm cells and early embryos, with nine singlets. An associated pair of centrioles, arranged perpendicularly, constitutes the compound structure known as the centrosome. Centrioles were historically thought to be required for the formation of a mitotic spindle in animal cells. However, more recent experiments have demonstrated that cells whose centrioles have been removed via laser ablation can still undergo mitosis. Additionally, mutant flies lacking centrioles can develop almost normally, although the adult flies lack flagella and cilia, a lack that underscores the requirement of centrioles for the formation of these organelles (see below). Cells whose centrioles have been removed (either via laser ablation, or genetic manipulation) lack aster microtubules. These cells often fail to undergo proper asymmetric cell division, as the aster microtubules help to position the spindle within the cell.

Cellular organization

Centrioles are a very important part of centrosomes, which are involved in organizing microtubules in the cytoplasm. The position of the centriole determines the position of the nucleus and plays a crucial role in the spatial arrangement of cell organelles.


In organisms with flagella and cilia, the position of these organelles is determined by the mother centriole, which becomes the basal body. An inability of cells to use centrioles to make functional cilia and flagella has been linked to a number of genetic and developmental diseases. In particular, the inability of centrioles to properly migrate prior to ciliary assembly has recently been linked to Meckel-Gruber syndrome.

Animal development

Additionally, proper orientation of cilia via centriole positioning toward the posterior of embryonic node cells is critical for establishing left–right asymmetry during mammalian development.

Structure of centrioles and mechanism of their duplication

Cells usually contain two complete centrioles. During cell replication, a new centriole grows from the side of each of the existing ones. The older of the two centrioles in a pair is called the mother centriole and the younger is called the daughter centriole. The two centrioles in the centrosome are connected to each other by proteins. The mother centriole has radiating appendages at the distal end of its long axis and is attached to the daughter centriole at the other proximal end. Each daughter cell formed after cell division will inherit one of these pairs (one older and one newer centriole). Duplication of centrioles starts at the time of the G1/S transition and ends before the onset of mitosis.


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centriole in Bosnian: Centriole
centriole in Bulgarian: Центриола
centriole in Catalan: Centríol
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centriole in Latvian: Centriola
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centriole in Macedonian: Центриола
centriole in Dutch: Centriool
centriole in Occitan (post 1500): Centriòl
centriole in Polish: Centriola
centriole in Portuguese: Centríolo
centriole in Romanian: Centriol
centriole in Russian: Центриоль
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centriole in Serbian: Центриола
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