The Cilioprotist Cytoskeleton, a Model for Understanding How Cell Architecture and Pattern Are Specified: Recent Discoveries from Ciliates and Comparable Model Systems

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The cytoskeletons of eukaryotic, cilioprotist microorganisms are complex, highly patterned, and diverse, reflecting the varied and elaborate swimming, feeding, reproductive, and sensory behaviors of the multitude of cilioprotist species that inhabit the aquatic environment. In the past 10–20 years, many new discoveries and technologies have helped to advance our understanding of how cytoskeletal organelles are assembled in many different eukaryotic model systems, in relation to the construction and modification of overall cellular architecture and function. Microtubule organizing centers, particularly basal bodies and centrioles, have continued to reveal their central roles in architectural engineering of the eukaryotic cell, including in the cilioprotists. This review calls attention to (1) published resources that illuminate what is known of the cilioprotist cytoskeleton; (2) recent studies on cilioprotists and other model organisms that raise specific questions regarding whether basal body- and centriole-associated nucleic acids, both DNA and RNA, should continue to be considered when seeking to employ cilioprotists as model systems for cytoskeletal research; and (3) new, mainly imaging, technologies that have already proven useful for, but also promise to enhance, future cytoskeletal research on cilioprotists.

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Methods in Molecular Biology