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The accurate timing and execution of organelle biogenesis is crucial for cell physiology. Centriole biogenesis is regulated by Polo-like kinase 4 (Plk4) and initiates in S-phase when a daughter centriole grows from the side of a pre-existing mother. Here, we show that a Plk4 oscillation at the base of the growing centriole initiates and times centriole biogenesis to ensure that centrioles grow at the right time and to the right size. The Plk4 oscillation is normally entrained to the cell-cycle oscillator but can run autonomously of it-potentially explaining why centrioles can duplicate independently of cell-cycle progression. Mathematical modeling indicates that the Plk4 oscillation can be generated by a time-delayed negative feedback loop in which Plk4 inactivates the interaction with its centriolar receptor through multiple rounds of phosphorylation. We hypothesize that similar organelle-specific oscillations could regulate the timing and execution of organelle biogenesis more generally.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





1566 - 1581.e27


Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3RE, UK. Electronic address:


Centrosome, Centrioles, Animals, Drosophila melanogaster, Cell Cycle Proteins, Drosophila Proteins, Cell Cycle, Phosphorylation, Biological Clocks, Organelle Biogenesis, Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases