Primary cilia (PC) function as microtubule-based sensory antennae projecting from the surface of many eukaryotic cells. They play important roles in mechano- and chemosensory perception and their dysfunction is implicated in developmental disorders and severe diseases. The basal body that functions in PC assembly is derived from the mature centriole, a component of the centrosome. Through a small interfering RNA screen we found several centrosomal proteins (Ceps) to be involved in PC formation. One newly identified protein, Cep164, was indispensable for PC formation and hence characterized in detail. By immunogold electron microscopy, Cep164 could be localized to the distal appendages of mature centrioles. In contrast to ninein and Cep170, two components of subdistal appendages, Cep164 persisted at centrioles throughout mitosis. Moreover, the localizations of Cep164 and ninein/Cep170 were mutually independent during interphase. These data implicate distal appendages in PC formation and identify Cep164 as an excellent marker for these structures.
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