The de novo centriole assembly pathway in HeLa cells: cell cycle progression and centriole assembly/maturation. Academic Article uri icon


  • It has been reported that nontransformed mammalian cells become arrested during G1 in the absence of centrioles (Hinchcliffe, E., F. Miller, M. Cham, A. Khodjakov, and G. Sluder. 2001. Science. 291:1547-1550). Here, we show that removal of resident centrioles (by laser ablation or needle microsurgery) does not impede cell cycle progression in HeLa cells. HeLa cells born without centrosomes, later, assemble a variable number of centrioles de novo. Centriole assembly begins with the formation of small centrin aggregates that appear during the S phase. These, initially amorphous "precentrioles" become morphologically recognizable centrioles before mitosis. De novo-assembled centrioles mature (i.e., gain abilities to organize microtubules and replicate) in the next cell cycle. This maturation is not simply a time-dependent phenomenon, because de novo-formed centrioles do not mature if they are assembled in S phase-arrested cells. By selectively ablating only one centriole at a time, we find that the presence of a single centriole inhibits the assembly of additional centrioles, indicating that centrioles have an activity that suppresses the de novo pathway.

publication date

  • February 28, 2005