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Journal Article

Length control of long cell protrusions: Rulers, timers and transport


Jülicher,  Frank
Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems, Max Planck Society;

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Patra, S., Chowdhury, D., & Jülicher, F. (2022). Length control of long cell protrusions: Rulers, timers and transport. Physics Reports: Review Section of Physics Letters, 987, 1-51. doi:10.1016/j.physrep.2022.08.002.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000B-B537-B
Living cells use long tubular appendages for locomotion and sensory purposes. Hence, assembling and maintaining a protrusion of correct length is crucial for survival and overall performance. Usually the protrusions lack the machinery for the synthesis of building blocks and imports them from the cell body. What are the unique features of the transport logistics which facilitate the exchange of these building blocks between the cell and the protrusion? What kind of 'rulers' and 'timers' does the cell use for constructing its appendages of correct length on time? How do the multiple appendages coordinate and communicate among themselves during different stages of their existence? How frequently do the fluctuations drive the length of these dynamic protrusions out of the acceptable bounds? These questions are addressed from a broad perspective in this review which is organized in three parts. In part-I the list of all known cell protrusions is followed by a comprehensive list of the mechanisms of length control of cell protrusions reported in the literature. We review not only the dynamics of the genesis of the protrusions, but also their resorption and regrowth as well as regeneration after amputation. As a case study in part-II, the specific cell protrusion that has been discussed in detail is eukaryotic flagellum (also known as cilium); this choice was dictated by the fact that flagellar length control mechanisms have been studied most extensively over more than half a century in cells with two or more flagella. Although limited in scope, brief discussions on a few non-flagellar cell protrusions in part-III of this review is intended to provide a glimpse of the uncharted territories and challenging frontiers of research on subcellular length control phenomena that awaits rigorous investigations.(c) 2022 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.