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Centrioles duplicate once in each cell division cycle through so-called templated or canonical duplication. SAK, also called PLK4 (SAK/PLK4), a kinase implicated in tumor development, is an upstream regulator of canonical biogenesis necessary for centriole formation. We found that overexpression of SAK/PLK4 could induce amplification of centrioles in Drosophila embryos and their de novo formation in unfertilized eggs. Both processes required the activity of DSAS-6 and DSAS-4, two molecules required for canonical duplication. Thus, centriole biogenesis is a template-free self-assembly process triggered and regulated by molecules that ordinarily associate with the existing centriole. The mother centriole is not a bona fide template but a platform for a set of regulatory molecules that catalyzes and regulates daughter centriole assembly.