Last summer, I set the stage for investigating cilia from a telic perspective. One thing I proposed was that cilia had an original function that was sensory in nature:
Of course, I have long known about the ancient state of cilia, so let’s push it some more. Let us propose the original core function of cilia has always been sensory. In other words, while most people think of cilia as motility structures, this may be more of a secondary function. If the original function for cilia has always been sensory, then “the business end” of our five senses have always been there from the start of eukaryote existence.
Well, I looked in on BioLogos and someone named ‘Sy’ posted an abstract from a paper that appears to support my contention:
J Cell Sci. 2010 May 1;123(Pt 9):1407-13.
Reconstructing the evolutionary history of the centriole from protein components.
Hodges ME,et al.
Centrioles are highly conserved structures that fulfill important cellular functions, such as nucleation of cilia and flagella (basal-body function) and organisation of pericentriolar material to form the centrosome. The evolution of these functions can be inferred from the distribution of the molecular components of extant centrioles and centrosomes. Here, we undertake an evolutionary analysis of 53 proteins known either for centriolar association or for involvement in cilia-associated pathologies. By linking protein distribution in 45 diverse eukaryotes with organism biology, we provide molecular evidence to show that basal-body function is ancestral, whereas the presence of the centrosome is specific to the Holozoa. We define an ancestral centriolar inventory of 14 core proteins, Polo-like-kinase, and proteins associated with Bardet-Biedl syndrome (BBS) and Meckel-Gruber syndrome. We show that the BBSome is absent from organisms that produce cilia only for motility, predicting a dominant and ancient role for this complex in sensory function.
There y’go. A dominant and ancient role for this complex in sensory function. I’ll have to get my hands on this paper and take a closer look.