Does the geometric design of centrioles imply their function?

Guenter Albrecht‐Buehler*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


The paper suggests several principles of construction of a microscopically small device for locating the directions of signal sources in microscopic dimensions. It appears that the simplest and smallest device that is compatible with the scrambling influence of thermal fluctuations as are demonstrated by Brownian motion is a pair of cylinders oriented at right angles to each other. Nine equally spaced blades run in a pitched fashion along the mantle of each cylinder. The blades have a concave cross‐section and bend around the circumference of the cylinder in a certain rotational pattern. Considering the striking similarity of this hypothetical device with centrioles, the paper puts forward the conjecture that centrioles locate the direction of hypothetical signals inside cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)237-245
Number of pages9
JournalCell Motility
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1981


  • centrioles
  • symmetry
  • thermal fluctuations
  • triplet blades

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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