Now in our 13th year of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science every day

Search the archive of over 4000 images

Local Produce

Cilia – hair-like projections on certain cells – make proteins locally that sustain their ultrastructure and functions

15 December 2021

Local Produce

Like outstretched arms, cilia project themselves outwards from the body of a cell and are vital for moving fluids and sensing stimuli. Due to their distance from the heart of the cell where proteins are made, it’s thought that any required proteins are transported to them. However, researchers now show, using fluorescence microscopy (pictured) and RNA analysis of mouse cells with multiple cilia (multicilia), that cilia can make proteins locally. They found that multicilia contain large amounts of protein-making machinery, as well as mRNA, the template for making proteins. What's more, they found that the mRNA-binding protein Fmrp is located in the central part of cilia (left and red) and is involved in delivering mRNA to the rest of the cilia (middle and green). Depleting Fmrp disrupted local protein production in cilia and caused multicilia to degenerate, hinting at the potential importance of protein production in cilia-related diseases.

Written by Lux Fatimathas

Search The Archive

Submit An Image

Follow on Tumblr

Follow on Instagram

What is BPoD?

BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

Read More

BPoD is also available in Catalan at with translations by the University of Valencia.