The Role of Intraflagellar Transport in the Assembly and Fuction of Cells and Flagella in Plants and Animals
Plants, animals, and protozoans use cilia and flagella for movement and as sensory organelles that sense environmental signals including light, odors and intercellular communications. Because of this, the assembly and function of cilia and flagella have been linked to numerous human and animal diseases including retinal degeneration, infertility and polycystic kidney disease. Thus, understanding the mechanisms of ciliary assembly is key to understanding the mechanisms of some of these diseases. This project focuses on intraflagellar transport (IFT), a conserved process that is essential for the assembly of these important organelles. It is known that IFT functions to transport building blocks during the construction phase of this cellular appendage. We seek to understand the mechanism of building block transport and to understand how IFT
interacts with proteins associated with human and animal disease.