The Role of the Centriole in Hair-Cell Development in the Zebrafish Lateral Line

Friday, February 12, 2016
Gabriel Sokoloff, The Rockefeller University, New York, NY
Ten percent of people living in industrialized countries are afflicted with hearing problems, ranging in severity from modest difficulty with speech comprehension to profound deafness. These conditions are often caused by damage to hair cells, the sensory receptors responsible for hearing and balance.  They contain hair-like stereocilia and a primary kinocilium that orients in a particular direction. This orientation is called planar cell polarity (PCP).  While hair cell loss is permanent in humans, zebrafish are able to regenerate these cells.  In order to understand more about zebrafish hair cells, we studied factors that affect PCP. In particular, we investigated the role of the centriole, a cylindrical cell structure that anchors the kinocilium.  Researchers have previously removed the kinocilium, but we removed the centriole, preventing the kinocilium from growing. We also studied whether centriole maturity determines PCP.  Our results suggest a role for the centriole in hair cell development.  The exact job of the centriole has yet to be determined.