Morphological and Scale Model of a Centriole

Morphological and Scale Model of a centriole

Centrioles are found mostly in the eukaryotic cells of animals. Plant cells do not contain centrioles. These organelles mostly come into use during cellular mitosis. Although they do have the same structure as cilia and flagella their task somewhat differs from that of their organelle doppelgangers. This structure is located outside the nucleus and usually is seen in pairs. The organelle consists of a cylindrical, nine-pointed star-shaped body, each point of the star connects to groups of three structures called microtubules. During Mitosis, the microtubules produce short spindle-fibers that move the chromosomes during cell division. These Fibers are supported by microtubule structures known as asters, the fibers extend from the centrioles to the cell membrane and move chromosomes to the daughter cell that is being created.

The size of our scale model is determined by calculating the ratio between the size of organelle and the size of our model.

Size of organelle = 0.2u D X 0.4u L = 0.00002cm X 0.00004cm
Size of model = 2.2cm X 4.4cm
0.00002 : 2.2
simplifies to:
0.00001: 1.1

  1. divided by 0.00002 = 110000 (model is 110000 times bigger than actual organelle)

The construction of the morphological model was conceived in a brilliant and sudden sketch that was then constructed in a very pleasant fashion, mostly of recycled materials. The design was fairly simple, strings tied through cups would be used to represent the actions of the centrioles. Until, that is we noticed that we weren't suppose to physically manipulate the model to make it work and our model worked by manually pulling the strings to move the organelle. It was obvious that we needed some sort of electromotive device to do the action for us. Luckily Gunther has motors and gearboxes just laying around so we taped a motor to the back of the model and soldered wires, a switch and a battery to create a working circuit. Then we attached the motor's axle to the strings to wind them up rather than having a person pull them.

In the construction of the scale model, it was difficult getting the play doh to stick to the platform but I overcame that issue with duct tape. Also I needed a way to make it easy to see that there are nine separate triplets of microtubules so I used different colored play doh to make it easier to see that. And the function of them is to form spindle fibers to separate chromosomes during cell division.

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