Bioscience Research Group Seminar Series

Here are the full details of The University of Hertfordshire's Bioscience Research Group seminars, sponsored by the Biochemical Society.

Understanding the role of cilia as signalling organelles. Delivered by Dr Barbara Tanos, Department of Life Sciences Brunel University London

Date: 25 May 2022

Cilia are sensory organelles that detect mechanical and chemical stimuli. The last decade has seen a significant increase in cilia research and publications, highlighting a heightened appreciation for the biological importance of these organelles. My lab is interested in understanding how cilia are assembled, how they function as signalling hubs, and how cilia-dependent signalling regulates specific biological outputs. Centrioles are microtubule structures that serve as the templates for cilia. A number of years ago, I found that specific structures at the distal end of mature centrioles called distal appendages (DA) promote   ciliogenesis by providing attachment to the cell cortex, facilitating binding of the ciliary vesicle and promoting cilia initiation. Given that cilia function as signalling centres that regulate multiple cellular processes, it is not surprising that their dysregulation is associated with a variety of diseases, including cancer. In fact, it has been reported that cilia are lost in a number of tumours. Interestingly, we have found that when tumour cells become drug-resistant, they are characterised by increased ciliation, longer and fragmented cilia, and increased activation of the cilia-specific Hedgehog pathway. Notably, removing cilia or targeting cilia pathways including Hedgehog and FGFR can overcome drug resistance. Additionally, we find that core centriolar proteins that regulate ciliogenesis also drive cell invasion in breast cancer models. Thus, cilia appear to play a critical role in acquired drug resistance and metastatic potential, two major problems in oncology.

Please contact Maria Dimitriadi for further details