Axoneme


Axoneme

Numerous eukaryotic cells carry whip-like appendages (cilia or eukaryotic flagella) whose inner core consists of a cytoskeletal structure called the axoneme. The axoneme serves as the "skeleton" of these organelles, both giving support to the structure and, in some cases, causing it to bend. Though distinctions of function and/or length may be made between cilia and flagella, the internal structure of the axoneme is common to both.

The building block of the axonmene is the microtubule; each axoneme is composed of several microtubules aligned in parallel. More specifically, the microtubules are arranged in a characteristic pattern known as the “9x2 + 2," as shown in the image at right. Nine sets of "doublet" microtubules (a specialized structure consisting of two linked microtubules) form a ring around a "central pair" of single microtubules.

Besides the microtubules, the axoneme contains many proteins and protein complexes necessary for its function. The dynein arms, for example, are motor complexes which produce the force needed for bending. Each dynein arm is anchored to a doublet microtubule; by "walking" along an adjacent microtubule, the dynein motors can cause the microtubules to slide against each other. When this is carried out in a synchronized fashion, with the microtubules on one side of the axonmene being pulled 'down' and those on the other side pulled 'up,' the axoneme as a whole can bend back and forth. This process is responsible for ciliary/flagellar beating, as in the well-known example of the human sperm.

The radial spoke is another protein complex of the axoneme. Thought to be important in regulating the motion of the axoneme, this "T"-shaped complex projects from each set of outer doublets toward the central microtubules.

The axoneme structure in non-motile primary cilium shows some variation from the canonical “9x2 + 2” anatomy. No dynein arms are found on the outer doublet microtubules, and there is no pair of central microtubule singlets. This organization of axoneme is referred as “9x2 + 0”. In addition, “9x2 + 1” axonemes, with only a single central microtubule, have been found to exist. Primary cilia appear to serve sensory functions.

Further reading


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Axoneme — Axonème L axonème est la partie axiale et motrice d un cil ou d un flagelle d une cellule eucaryote. L axonème le plus souvent cité est constitué d un cylindre de 9 doublets de microtubules qui, associés entre eux par des moteurs moléculaires… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • axoneme — axoneme. См. аксонемный комплекс. (Источник: «Англо русский толковый словарь генетических терминов». Арефьев В.А., Лисовенко Л.А., Москва: Изд во ВНИРО, 1995 г.) …   Молекулярная биология и генетика. Толковый словарь.

  • Axonème — L axonème est la partie axiale et motrice d un cil ou d un flagelle d une cellule eucaryote. L axonème le plus souvent cité est constitué d un cylindre de 9 doublets de microtubules qui, associés entre eux par des moteurs moléculaires (les bras… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • axoneme — noun Etymology: Greek axōn axis + nēma thread, from nēn to spin more at needle Date: 1901 the fibrillar bundle of a flagellum or cilium that usually consists of nine pairs of microtubules arranged in a ring around a single central pair • axonemal …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • axoneme — n. [Gr. axon, axle; nema, thread] The core of a cilium or flagellum, comprising microtubles; genoneme of a chromosome …   Dictionary of invertebrate zoology

  • axoneme — The central microtubule complex of eukaryotic cilia and flagella with the characteristic 9 + 2 arrangement of tubules when seen in cross section …   Dictionary of molecular biology

  • axoneme — /ak seuh neem /, n. Cell Biol. the shaft within a flagellum or cilium, containing twenty microtubules arranged as nine doublets and two singlets. Cf. nine plus two array. [1900 05; AXO + neme < Gk nêma thread] * * * …   Universalium

  • axoneme — 1. The central thread running in the axis of the chromosome. 2. SYN: axial filament. 3. The distinctive array of microtubules in the core of eukaryotic cilia and flagella comprising a central pair surrounded by a sheaf of nine doublet… …   Medical dictionary

  • axoneme — ax·o·neme …   English syllables

  • axoneme — ax•o•neme [[t]ˈæk səˌnim[/t]] n. cbl the shaft within a flagellum or cilium, containing twenty microtubules arranged as nine doublets and two singlets • Etymology: 1900–05; < Gkáxōnaxis +nêma thread …   From formal English to slang


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.