, Volume 127, Issue 2, pp 151–174 | Cite as

Controlling centriole numbers: Geminin family members as master regulators of centriole amplification and multiciliogenesis

  • Marina Arbi
  • Dafni-Eleftheria Pefani
  • Stavros Taraviras
  • Zoi LygerouEmail author


To ensure that the genetic material is accurately passed down to daughter cells during mitosis, dividing cells must duplicate their chromosomes and centrosomes once and only once per cell cycle. The same key steps—licensing, duplication, and segregation—control both the chromosome and the centrosome cycle, which must occur in concert to safeguard genome integrity. Aberrations in genome content or centrosome numbers lead to genomic instability and are linked to tumorigenesis. Such aberrations, however, can also be part of the normal life cycle of specific cell types. Multiciliated cells best exemplify the deviation from a normal centrosome cycle. They are post-mitotic cells which massively amplify their centrioles, bypassing the rule for once-per-cell-cycle centriole duplication. Hundreds of centrioles dock to the apical cell surface and generate motile cilia, whose concerted movement ensures fluid flow across epithelia. The early steps that control the generation of multiciliated cells have lately started to be elucidated. Geminin and the vertebrate-specific GemC1 and McIdas are distantly related coiled-coil proteins, initially identified as cell cycle regulators associated with the chromosome cycle. Geminin is required to ensure once-per-cell-cycle genome replication, while McIdas and GemC1 bind to Geminin and are implicated in DNA replication control. Recent findings highlight Geminin family members as early regulators of multiciliogenesis. GemC1 and McIdas specify the multiciliate cell fate by forming complexes with the E2F4/5 transcription factors to switch on a gene expression program leading to centriole amplification and cilia formation. Positive and negative interactions among Geminin family members may link cell cycle control to centriole amplification and multiciliogenesis, acting close to the point of transition from proliferation to differentiation. We review key steps of centrosome duplication and amplification, present the role of Geminin family members in the centrosome and chromosome cycle, and discuss links with disease.


Geminin GMNN GemC1 GMNC Lynkeas McIdas Idas Multicilin 



We thank the members of our laboratories for input and discussions and M. Verras for professional assistance with figure design.

Funding information

Our work is supported by the European Research Council (ERC-StG 281851 and ERC-PoC 755284) and Fondation Sante.

Compliance with ethical standards

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Biology, School of MedicineUniversity of PatrasPatrasGreece
  2. 2.CRUK/MRC Oxford Institute, Department of OncologyUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK
  3. 3.Laboratory of Physiology, School of MedicineUniversity of PatrasPatrasGreece

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