A basal body (synonymous with basal granule, kinetosome, and in older cytological literature with blepharoplast) is an organelle formed from a centriole, and a short cylindrical array of microtubules. It is found at the base of a eukaryotic undulipodium (cilium or flagellum) and serves as a nucleation site for the growth of the axoneme microtubules. Centrioles, from which basal bodies are derived, act as anchoring sites for proteins that in turn anchor microtubules within centrosomes, and are known as the microtubule organizing center (MTOC). These microtubules provide structure and facilitate movement of vesicles and organelles within many eukaryotic cells. The term, basal body is, however, reserved specifically for the base structures of eukaryote cilia and flagella which extend out from the cell.
Basal bodies are derived from centrioles through a largely mysterious process. They are structurally the same, each containing a microtubule triplet 9*3 helicoidal configuration forming a hollow cylinder.
Intraflagellar transport or IFT is a bidirectional motility along axonemal microtubules that is essential for the formation (ciliogenesis) and maintenance of most eukaryotic cilia and flagella. It is thought to be required to build all cilia that assemble within a membrane projection from the cell surface. Plasmodium falciparum cilia and the sperm flagella of Drosophila are examples of cilia that assemble in the cytoplasm and do not require IFT. The process of IFT involves movement of large protein complexes called IFT particles or trains from the cell body to the ciliary tip and followed by their return to the cell body. The outward or anterograde movement is powered by kinesin-2 while the inward or retrograde movement is powered by cytoplasmic dynein 2/1b. The IFT particles are composed of about 20 proteins organized in two subcomplexes called complex A and B.
IFT was first reported in 1993 by graduate student Keith Kozminski while working in the lab of Dr. Joel Rosenbaum at Yale University. The process of IFT has been best characterized in the biflagellate alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii as well as the sensory cilia of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans.
Cell biology (formerly cytology, from the Greek kytos, "contain") is a scientific discipline that studies cells – their physiological properties, their structure, the organelles they contain, interactions with their environment, their life cycle, division and death. This is done both on a microscopic and molecular level. Cell biology research encompasses both the great diversity of single-celled organisms like bacteria and protozoa, as well as the many specialized cells in multicellular organisms such as humans, plants, and sponges.
Knowing the components of cells and how cells work is fundamental to all biological sciences. Appreciating the similarities and differences between cell types is particularly important to the fields of cell and molecular biology as well as to biomedical fields such as cancer research and developmental biology. These fundamental similarities and differences provide a unifying theme, sometimes allowing the principles learned from studying one cell type to be extrapolated and generalized to other cell types. Therefore, research in cell biology is closely related to genetics, biochemistry, molecular biology, immunology, and developmental biology.