Histochemistry and Cell Biology

, Volume 129, Issue 6, pp 687-693

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Structure and function of mammalian cilia

  • Peter SatirAffiliated withDepartment of Anatomy and Structural Biology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine
  • , Søren T. ChristensenAffiliated withDepartment of Biology, Section of Cell and Developmental Biology, University of Copenhagen Email author 


In the past half century, beginning with electron microscopic studies of 9 + 2 motile and 9 + 0 primary cilia, novel insights have been obtained regarding the structure and function of mammalian cilia. All cilia can now be viewed as sensory cellular antennae that coordinate a large number of cellular signaling pathways, sometimes coupling the signaling to ciliary motility or alternatively to cell division and differentiation. This view has had unanticipated consequences for our understanding of developmental processes and human disease.


Motile cilia Primary cilia Motility Signaling Sensory organelles Ciliopathies