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Amorphous no more: subdiffraction view of the pericentriolar material architecture.


The centrosome influences the shape, orientation and activity of the microtubule cytoskeleton. The pericentriolar material (PCM), determines this functionality by providing a dynamic platform for nucleating microtubules and acts as a nexus for molecular signaling. Although great strides have been made in understanding PCM activity, its diffraction-limited size and amorphous appearance on electron microscopy (EM) have limited analysis of its high-order organization. Here, we outline current knowledge of PCM architecture and assembly, emphasizing recent super-resolution imaging studies that revealed the PCM has a layered structure made of fibers and matrices conserved from flies to humans. Notably, these studies debunk the long-standing view of an amorphous PCM and provide a paradigm to dissect the supramolecular organization of organelles in cells.

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