You are on page 1of 1

Centrioles, Flagella, and Cilia

! A centriole is a cylindrical structure in an animal cell. Centrioles occur in pairs and are
involved in the formation of the apparatus that distributes chromosomes to the daughter
cells during cell division.
! Flagella and cilia are structures that aid in locomotion or move fluids across the surface of
tissue cells of animals.
! The microtubules of both cilia and flagella have protein motor molecules that provide the
force for bending and movement.

Centrioles occur in an arrangement called a

“9 + 0” pattern. The term is derived from the
fact that there are nine fused triplets of
microtubules surrounding an empty space.

Flagella are relatively long structures that

function as propellers in locomotion. Cilia are
relatively short and work like oars.

In cilia and flagella, a specialized arrangement

of microtubules is responsible for their
locomotive ability.

(a) Cilia and flagella have an identical 9 + 2

microtubule arrangement. There are nine
fused pairs of microtubules surrounding an
unfused pair of microtubules.

(b) Protein motor molecules attach to the

outer microtubules and enable bending of the
cilia or flagella.
(b) (a)

Using ATP as an energy source, the protein

motor molecules of one microtubule grip the
adjacent pair, pull, release, and then bind
again. The microtubules can’t slide far past
each other because they are anchored. The
action of the motor molecules causes the
microtubules to bend.
Copyright © 2000, Thinkwell Corp., All Rights Reserved. 031500bio072