Centrosomes function in animal cells and structure

Centrosomes are sites where protein dimers assemble into microtubules in a cell. These organelles function in the regulation of cell cycle progression and the formation of mitotic spindles.

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Centrosomes definition in biology

The centrosome is the primary microtubule-organizing center (MTOC), regulating cell adhesion, motility, and polarity.

What are centrosomes?

Centrosomes are cellular organelles that function as the primary microtubule-organizing centers in animal cells.

The centrosome is composed of two perpendicular centrioles, a daughter centriole, and a mother centriole, which are connected by interconnecting fibers. It is also made up of a protein complex that aids in the formation of new microtubules.

Centrosomes cycle

The centrosome cycle begins early in the cell cycle so that there are two centrosomes by the time mitosis occurs. After cell division, the centrosome cycle ensures that daughter cells receive a centrosome. The centrosome undergoes a series of morphological and functional changes as the cell cycle progresses.

Because the centrosome organizes a cell’s microtubules, it is involved in the formation of the mitotic spindle, polarity, and thus cell shape, as well as all other mitotic spindle-related processes. The centriole is the inner core of the centrosome, and its shape is similar to that of spokes on a wheel. It has a slightly different conformation than other organelles, but its overall structure is the same.

The centrosome cycle is divided into four stages that are synchronized with the cell cycle. These stages are centrosome duplication during the G1 and S phases, centrosome maturation during the G2 phase, centrosome separation during the mitotic phase, and centrosome disorientation during the late mitotic phase G1 phase. These four stages will be discussed below.

Duplication of centrosomes

In this stage, the cell cycle controls and have a strong influence on centrosome duplication. The cyclin-dependent kinase 2 (Cdk2) mediates the link between the cell cycle and the centrosome cycle. Cdk2 is a protein kinase (enzyme) that controls the cell cycle. There is ample evidence that Cdk2 is required for both DNA replication and centrosome duplication, both of which occur during the S phase. Cdk2 also forms complexes with both cyclin A and cyclin E, and this complex is required for centrosome duplication.

Centrosome maturation

Centrosome maturation is the increase or accumulation of gamma-tubulin ring complexes and other PCM proteins at the centrosome. This increase in gamma-tubulin allows the mature centrosome to nucleate microtubules more effectively. Phosphorylation plays an important regulatory role in centrosome maturation because it is thought to be mediated by polo-like kinases (Plks) and Aurora kinases. The phosphorylation of polo-like kinases and Aurora A downstream targets results in the recruitment of gamma-tubulin and other proteins that form PCM around the centrioles.

Centrosome separation

Several motor proteins drive the separation of centrosomes during early mitosis. When prophase begins, the motor protein dynein provides the majority of the force required to separate the two centrosomes. The separation event takes place in two steps at the G2/M transition. The connection between the two parental centrioles is severed in the first step. The centrosomes are separated in the second step using microtubule motor proteins.

Centrosome disorientation

Centrosome disorientation is the loss of orthogonality between the mother and daughter centrioles. When the mature centriole becomes disoriented, it begins to move toward the cleave furrow. This movement has been proposed as a key step in abscission which is the terminal phase of cell division.

Centrosomes function in animal cell

  1. The function of centrosomes is to serve as microtubules organizing centers (MTOC)
  2. Organization of flagella and cilia.
  3. Cell cycle regulation
  4. They play a role during mitosis.

The above-listed are the main functions of centrosomes which will be discussed below.

Centrosomes as microtubules organizing centers (MTOC)

Centrosomes serve several functions in the cell, the most important of which is to act as an MTOC. Microtubule arrays are organized by the centrosome based on its ability to anchor, release, or nucleate microtubules. During centrosome mitosis, the pericentriolar material and some protein kinases are involved in the nucleation of microtubules. When a cell prepares to divide, the perinuclear material thickens through a process known as centrosome maturation.

Variations in the centrosome’s microtubule nucleating potential during the cell cycle appear to be motivated by a balance of factors. These factors can either facilitate or restrict the recruitment of microtubule-organizing molecules during mitosis and the interphase.

Flagella and cilia organization

This is a function of centrosomes where microtubules give rise to flagella and cilia. They are projections that allow or promote the movement of substances that surround the cell. Flagella and cilia play important roles in embryonic development, sensation, signal propagation, and motility during various developmental and cellular processes.

Cell cycle regulation

Another function of centrosomes is that they serve as a signaling platform. Because they contain regulatory complexes such as checkpoint proteins and tumor suppressors. The centrosome, which has been proposed to control the G1-S transition and cytokinesis, may regulate the cell cycle.


Centrosomes function during mitosis and assist in the cell division process.

What functions do centrosomes have during mitosis?

1. The centrosome is the cell’s primary microtubule-organizing center.
2. A microtubule arrays around centrosomes are formed during interphase and the centrosomes are in charge of this formation.
3. The function of centrosomes during mitosis, is to aid in the formation of bipolar spindles.
4. In addition, centrosomes, assist in the organization of microtubules and the cell division process.

Centrosomes structure

This centrosome picture is showing the centrosome diagram or centrosomes diagram.
Centrosomes diagram showing their structures

The above diagram shows the structure of the centrosomes in the cell. The centrosome is made up of two centrioles that are surrounded and linked by fibers and pericentriolar material.

Each centriole is made up of nine triplets of microtubules arranged in a barrel shape. Both centrioles are perpendicular to one another and are structurally distinct from one another. The mother centriole has distal and subdistal appendages that act as basal bodies, anchoring the centrioles to the cell membrane.

The mother centriole and the daughter centriole in the centrosome are functionally and structurally distinct with only microtubules found in both centrioles. Because they contribute to the process of cell division.

The mother centriole has nine appendages arranged in two sets at the distal end which is a distinct structure that distinguishes it from the daughter centriole. These appendages are required for microtubule anchoring as well as mother centriole docking at the plasma membrane during the ciliogenesis of a cell. Furthermore, the mother centriole is the only one that centers the centrosome.

The length of the daughter centriole, on the other hand, is approximately 80% of the length of the mother centriole. Because it lacks the nine distal appendages, the daughter centriole cannot dock the centrioles at the plasma membrane during ciliogenesis.

Centrosome Evolution

Centrosome evolution in eukaryotes reflects variation in eukaryotic cells among different organisms. These variations are in terms of sensory reception, locomotion, or division in relation to the organism’s natural evolutionary process and adaptation.

The centrosome has long been recognized as a cell’s polar corpuscle. It is thought to play a role in cell polarity maintenance and symmetrical cell breaking. The centrosome was investigated as the organelle in charge of cytokinesis and karyokinesis.

Centrosomes vs centrioles

The centrosome is composed of two centrioles.
The centriole is the microtubule unit that forms the centrosome.
Contains two centrioles arranged orthogonally
Centrin, cenexin, and tekin are microtubules that are arranged in a cylindrical structure.
During cell division, it forms a spindle apparatus.
Flagella and cilia are formed by the mother centriole in non-dividing cells.
This table shows the differences between centrosomes and centrioles

The main difference between centrioles and centrosomes is that the centriole is the microtubule unit that forms the centrosome, whereas the centrosome is a cytoplasmic membrane-bound organelle composed of two centrioles.

When comparing centrioles vs centrosomes, the former has a complex physical structure that serves a specific function, whereas the latter has a simple physical structure but performs a variety of complex functions.

When a cell divides, one of the most important processes is chromosome duplication and migration to opposite sides of the cell nucleus along a spindle of threads that spans the cell. The nucleus can then be divided into two parts, each with an identical set of chromosomes.

The centrosome contains and supplies the proteins required for the formation of microtubule threads, whereas centrioles act as scaffolding for newly formed microtubules. Even as they complement each other, they are in charge of completely different aspects of thread spindle production.

Absence of centrosomes in plant cells

Centrosomes are not required in plant and fungi cells because their cell membranes do not change shape during cell division. These cells have stiff, inflexible cell walls that prevent them from changing their membrane shape during mitosis.

Centrosomes in animal cells

Centrosomes are treated in animal cells in the same way that DNA is during the process of cell division. During cell division, each daughter cell receives one centrosome from the parent cell. During the process of the cell cycle, the centrosome is copied so that the cell can give one to each daughter cell when it divides.

The centrosomes are in charge of lining up chromosomes and pulling them toward opposite ends of the cell during cell division. During this process, the mitotic spindle fibers are directed by centrosomes, which migrate to opposite “poles” of the cell as the cell prepares for division. These spindle fibers pull the sister chromatids apart, ensuring that each daughter cell receives one copy of each chromosome.

Biological Importance

  • The centrosome is a vital organelle in biology. It regulates the cell’s polarity as well as nuclear positioning. As a result, it has an impact on the asymmetric distribution of organelles in the cell.
  • In eukaryotes, the centrosome organizes microtubules and can be replicated or synthesized from scratch; thus, centrosomes can be resynthesized after they are destroyed.
  • The centrosome is in charge of microtubule nucleation. It is essential for the maintenance of cell polarity, position, organelle distribution in the cell, chemotaxis, cell migration, and directional vesicle transport, as well as the assembly of spindles during meiotic and mitotic division in various types of cells.
  • The centrosome regulates microtubule polarity and position within the cell. This results in an indirect effect on cell organelles that can interact with microtubules, such as cytoskeleton filaments. Because of this fact, centrosomes are also called the “dynamic center of the cell.”
  • The bipolar spindle assembly is directed by the two formed centrosomes for proper chromosomal segregation. For proper cell cycle progression, proteins associated with the centrosome mediate the interaction between an enzyme and its substrate in order to coordinate cellular functions and centrosome control.


Despite the fact that the centrosome is thought to be an essential organelle for the division process of an animal cell, recent research has shown that centrosomes are not required for the transition of the G1-S phase. This discovery was based on a study in which the human cell progressed through the G1 phase despite the removal of the centrosome via laser or microsurgery. However, the centrosome is required for the transition of the G1-S phase, as demonstrated by a study that showed that when the centriole was ablated followed by strong light exposure that caused great stress to the centrioles in the G1 phase, the loss of the centrosome resulted in G1 arrest.

Despite the presence of centrosomes at the spindle poles in most cells, they are not usually present during the female oocyte’s meiotic division. Furthermore, no centrosomes are found in the cells of higher plants. In some species, the centriole aids in spindle orientation as well as mitotic fidelity assurance.

All these points and findings have resulted in the questioning of the importance of centrosomes and if the organelle is indeed necessary.

Centrosome and diseases

Because the centrosome is so involved in cell cycle regulation, it is expected to play a role in tumorigenesis. The number, structure, and size of the centrosome were found to be abnormal in almost all human tumor types, including liver, breast, bone marrow, colon, prostate, and cervical cancer.

For example, centrosome amplification occurs as a result of tumor-suppressor protein (Rb) depletion in mammals, as well as BRCA1 breast cancer gene deficiency. It may also occur as a result of Aurora-A overexpression, in addition to other kinases involved in cancer progression.

Another instance of the amplification of the centrosome could occur as a result of cytokinesis defects or dysregulation in the replication mechanism, which could lead to chromosome instability in the cell.

In cancer, centrosomal amplification causes defects in cilia signaling, altered microtubule function, lagging chromosomes, and asymmetric cell division, which leads to overproliferation.

FAQs on Centrosomes

In what phases does the cell grows and replicates its DNA and centrosomes?

During interphase.

Where do the centrosomes migrate to during prophase?

The centrosomes migrate to the opposite sides of the poles during the prophase.

Centrosomes are composed of actin filaments true or false?

True, because in the presence of actin monomers, all centrosome preparations induce the growth of actin filament. Also, microtubule and actin filament assembly are from isolated centrosomes.

What are centrosomes associated with?

During the prophase stage of the cell cycle, centrosomes are associated with the nuclear membrane.

Do plant cells have centrosomes?

No, plants cells do not have centrosomes. But they have evolved novel mechanisms to assure chromosome segregation.

What do centrosomes do?

They facilitate the organization of the spindle poles during mitosis.

In a human skin cell that is going through the cell cycle, when do the centrosomes separate?

Centrosomes in the human skin cell cycle separate during the early stage of prophase.

During cell division, what role do centrosomes play?

They play a role in forming the bipolar mitotic spindle required to accurately divide genetic material between daughter cells during cell division.

Do plants have centrosomes?

No, plants do not have centrosomes.

Do animal cells have centrosomes?

Yes, animal cells have centrosomes.

What is the role of centrosomes in mitosis?

They assist in bipolar spindle assembly during mitosis.

How do I define centrosomes?

Centrosomes are structures that contain two centrioles arranged perpendicularly to each other. They are the main microtubule-organizing centers in animal cells.

What are centrosomes made of?

Centrosomes are made of two centrioles surrounded by pericentriolar material.

How many centrosomes in a cell?

There are two centrosomes in a cell.

What is the function of centrosomes?

The function of centrosomes is to regulate cell motility, adhesion, and polarity in interphase.

What would be the immediate consequence of destroying a cell’s centrosomes?

The immediate consequence of destroying a cell’s centrosomes would be that the mitotic spindle would not form.

What is centrosome?

The centrosome is the primary microtubule-organizing center (MTOC) in eukaryotic cells, consisting of two centrioles surrounded by an electron-dense matrix known as the pericentriolar material (PCM).

Are centrosomes necessary for mitosis?

No, they are not required for mitosis to occur.

What is a microtubule structure in animal centrosomes?

A microtubule structure in animal centrosomes are proteins that assemble into a spindle.

What cells have centrosomes?

Animal cells are the only ones that have and use centrosomes.

During what phase that spindle fibers radiate from the centrosomes?

Spindle fibers radiate from the centrioles at the opposite poles during the metaphase of cell division.

What do centrosomes look like?

Centrosomes look like clusters of barrel-shaped structures.

What does a cell show under the microscope?

Under the microscope, a cell shows formation of centrosomes and spindle microtubules.

When are centrosomes duplicated?

The duplication of a single centrosome begins at the G1/S transition and is completed before mitosis.

What cells are centrosomes found in?

The centrosome is located in the cytoplasm, outside of the nucleus.

What is the centrioles centrosomes relationship?

The centrosomes centriole relationship is that when a cell divides, the centrosome directs the movement of the chromosomes, and the centrioles contribute to the formation of the spindle of threads along which the duplicated chromosomes separate into two new cells.

When do centrosomes form?

The centrosome forms or replicates during the S phase of the cell cycle

Do both plant and animal cells have centrosomes?

No, only animal cells have centrosomes.

What do the centrosomes do?

In answering what does the centrosomes do, one can say they help in facilitating the organization of the spindle poles during mitosis.

What do centrosomes do in mitosis?

They aid in the formation of the mitotic spindle, microtubule assembly, and cell cycle progression are all regulated by them.

What is the function of the centrosomes?

The function of centrosomes is to regulate cell motility.

How do centrosomes help the cell?

They maintain the chromosome number during cell division.

What do centrosomes and centrioles function in?

Centrioles and centrosomes function in the organization of microtubules during cell division.

What are animal cell centrosomes?

The centrosome also called the cytocenter is an organelle in cell biology that serves as the animal cell’s main microtubule-organizing center (MTOC) as well as a regulator of cell-cycle progression.

When do centrosomes duplicate?

Centrosomes undergo duplication precisely once before cell division.

When do centrosomes move to opposite sides of the cell?

During prophase, chromosomes condense and centrosomes move to opposite sides of the nucleus, causing the mitotic spindle to form.

Do bacteria have centrosomes?

No, bacterial cells do not have centrosomes.

What role do centrosomes play in mitosis?

They stimulate the changes in the shape of the cell membrane during mitosis.

What are some centrosomes function in animal cell?

They provide structure for the cell, organize microtubules, and regulate cell cycle progression.

Where are centrosomes located in an animal cell?

Centrosomes’ location is the cytoplasm of an animal cell.

When do centrosomes replicate in meiosis?

The first visible manifestation of centrosome duplication appears late in meiosis I (anaphase or telophase).

What happens to centrosomes in prophase?

Centrosomes move to opposite poles of the cell.

What is the role of centrosomes in meiosis?

The role of centrosomes in meiosis is to assist in the separation of replicated chromosomes into daughter cells.

Name the stage of mitosis where the chromosomes initially condense and centrosomes move apart?

In the prophase stage of mitosis.

Do bacterial cells have centrosomes?

No, they don’t.

What is the relationship between microtubules and centrosomes?

The centrosomes and microtubules relationship is one in that the microtubules are the structures that make up the centrosomes.

Are centrioles and centrosomes the same?

No, they are not.

What does centrosomes do?

They help in cell division.

Do centrosomes make microtubules?

Centrosomes are made up of microtubules.

What is the role of centrosomes in interphase?

They are responsible for creating a microtubule array during interphase.

Are centrosomes organelles?

Yes, centrosomes are cellular organelles.

What is the purpose of centrosomes?

Centrosomes act as the primary microtubule-organizing center (MTOC) in animal cells. Their purpose is to facilitate the organization of the spindle fiber during mitosis.

What are centrosomes also called?

Centrosomes are also called organizing centers.

Why are centrosomes important?

Centrosomes also called organizing centers are important because they help in the organization of the process of cell division.

What is the role of centrosomes in cells?

The role of centrosomes in cells is to regulate cell motility, adhesion, and polarity during interphase.

Prophase is to centrosomes as telophase is to?

Prophase is to centrosomes as telophase is to spindle fibers.

Why are there two copies of the centrosomes?

There are two copies of centrosomes onset before mitosis to avoid mitotic defects that will occur in the organism.

Are centrosomes and centrioles the same thing?

Centrosomes and centrioles are not the same things. This is because centrioles are structures that make up the organelle known as centrosomes. In essence, centrioles are strucutures and centrosomes are organelles.

A video on the functions of centrosomes.