The Azimzadeh Lab has just published a new study in elife :
Centrioles are formed by microtubule triplets in a nine-fold symmetric arrangement. In flagellated protists and in animal multiciliated cells, accessory structures tethered to specific triplets render the centrioles rotationally asymmetric, a property that is key to cytoskeletal and cellular organization in these contexts. In contrast, centrioles within the centrosome of animal cells display no conspicuous rotational asymmetry. Here, we uncover rotationally asymmetric molecular features in human centrioles. Using ultrastructure expansion microscopy, we show that LRRCC1, the ortholog of a protein originally characterized in flagellate green algae, associates preferentially to two consecutive triplets in the distal lumen of human centrioles. LRRCC1 partially co-localizes and affects the recruitment of another distal component, C2CD3, which also has an asymmetric localization pattern in the centriole lumen. Together, LRRCC1 and C2CD3 delineate a structure reminiscent of a filamentous density observed by electron microscopy in flagellates, termed the ‘acorn’. Functionally, the depletion of LRRCC1 in human cells induced defects in centriole structure, ciliary assembly and ciliary signaling, supporting that LRRCC1 cooperates with C2CD3 to organizing the distal region of centrioles. Since a mutation in the LRRCC1 gene has been identified in Joubert syndrome patients, this finding is relevant in the context of human ciliopathies. Taken together, our results demonstrate that rotational asymmetry is an ancient property of centrioles that is broadly conserved in human cells. Our work also reveals that asymmetrically localized proteins are key for primary ciliogenesis and ciliary signaling in human cells.