Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Genetics, Development and Cell Biology


Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology

First Advisor

Julie Kuhlman

Second Advisor

Dennis Lavrov


Eukaryotic cilia and flagella are highly conserved cellular structures found in

organisms as diverse as algae, worms and humans. While they share a common

internal structure in the axoneme, they have evolved to fill a wide variety of roles

including cell motility, cell signaling, locomotion and sensory reception. The axoneme

itself is a complex structure highlighted by its circular arrangement of nine microtubule

doublets and, in the case of motile cilia, two additional microtubules in the center.

Despite this common conserved structure, little is known about how different types of

motile cilia specialized for different functions evolved. One possibility is that

duplication of genes coding for conserved structural proteins allows for specialization

in different cilia types or new functions. Such specialization or neofunctionalization is

often accompanied by changes in transcriptional regulation. Two families of genes

encoding coiled-coil domain proteins involved in ciliary structure are the Tektins and

ODF3. The overall aim of this study is to elucidate the evolutionary history of these two

protein families and investigate how gene duplications may have led to specialization in

specific ciliary structures and divergence in transcriptional regulation during the early

development of the polychaete Platynereis dumerilii.

Copyright Owner

Benjamin Bastin



File Format


File Size

324 pages