Throughout your body, cilia (protrusions on cells, singular cilium) are monitoring the environment and sweeping your passages clean.
Live Science posted an article about cilia. The simple-looking hairlike projections on cells are anything but simple. “These hairs are tiny, but mighty,” the article began. Your life depends on them.
Here are some wonders of cilia:
- “A single cilium is made up of some 600 protein pieces—more than many other cellular structures.”
- Primary cilia (non-motile) act like antennae, sensing the external environment. Filled with proteins that amplify the signal, they act as a communications hub for the cell.
- During development, motile cilia direct the liver on the right side of the body and the heart on the left.
- Cilia sweep the airways clean of mucus by moving in concert in a wave-like motion.
- Motile cilia direct the female egg to the uterus. An extra-long cilium propels a sperm cell toward the egg. (This is called a flagellum but does not work the same as the rotary flagellum found in bacteria.)
- Cilia “circulate the fluid needed for proper brain function.”
- “More than a dozen rare but serious genetic disorders stem from cilia glitches.”….
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