Experimental model for studying the primary cilia in tissue culture cells

I. B. Alieva, L. A. Gorgidze, Yu A. Komarova, O. A. Chernobelskaya, I. A. Vorobjev

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36 Citations (Scopus)


In HeLa, PK, 3T3, PtK1 cells and rat embryo fibroblasts (REF), antibodies against acetylated tubulin stained centrioles, primary cilia, some cytoplasmic microtubules and microtubule bundles of the mid-body. The primary cilia were stained more intensively than cytoplasmic microtubules and could easily be distinguished. This makes it possible to detect the primary cilia in cultured cells and to estimate their number by light microscopy. The four cultures studied had 1/4 to 1/3 of interphase cells with detectable primary cilia, and only in HeLa cells the primary cilia were very rare. Comparison of electron microscopic and immunofluorescence data showed that the frequencies of occurrence of the primary cilia in four tissue cultures determined by these two methods were the same. Therefore, antibodies against acetylated tubulin can be used to study the primary cilia. In synchronized mitotic fibroblasts (3T3 and REF) the primary cilia appeared first 2 h after the cells had been plated on coverslips, which is 1 h after the cells had entered the interphase. Four hours after plating the number of ciliated cells reached the average level for nonsynchronous population. This model can be used for further studies of the expression of primary cilia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)895-905
Number of pages11
JournalMembrane and Cell Biology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology

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