Chapter 3 How Did the Cilium Evolve?

Peter Satir, David R. Mitchell, Gáspár Jékely

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

88 Scopus citations


The cilium is a characteristic organelle of eukaryotes constructed from over 600 proteins. Bacterial flagella are entirely different. 9 + 2 motile cilia evolved before the divergence of the last eukaryotic common ancestor (LECA). This chapter explores, compares, and contrasts two potential pathways of evolution: (1) via invasion of a centriolar-like virus and (2) via autogenous formation from a pre-existing microtubule-organizing center (MTOC). In either case, the intraflagellar transport (IFT) machinery that is nearly universally required for the assembly and maintenance of cilia derived from the evolving intracellular vesicular transport system. The sensory function of cilia evolved first and the ciliary axoneme evolved gradually with ciliary motility, an important selection mechanism, as one of the driving forces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCiliary Function in Mammalian Development
EditorsBradley Yoder
Number of pages20
StatePublished - 2008

Publication series

NameCurrent Topics in Developmental Biology
ISSN (Print)0070-2153

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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