The cilia growth and regeneration lab offers a unique opportunity to manipulate an important cell organelle without killing the cell. Ciliary loss can be non-lethally induced in Tetrahymena by several methods, and cells are capable of regenerating their cilia in a few hours. However, in the mean time they are immobile, subject to increased predation and unable to feed. The lab provides an experimental approach to examining organelle growth by chemically inducing cells to shed their cilia, and monitoring regeneration by the resumption of swimming behavior monitored by time lapse photography or direct observation. The effects of external conditions on regeneration are easily monitored as well.

Module Protocols

High School

Relevant Concepts

Motility; Regeneration; Cell Response to Environmental Stimuli

Next Generation Science Standards Relationships

High School

HS-LS1-1 Construct an explanation based on evidence for how the structure of DNA determines the structure of proteins which carry out the essential functions of life through systems of specialized cells.


●Asai DJ, Rajagopalan V, Wilkes DE. 2009. Dynein-2 and ciliogenesis in Tetrahymena. Cell Motil.Cytoskeleton 66 (8):673-677.

●Pearson CG and Winey M. 2009. Basal body assembly in ciliates: the power of numbers. Traffic 10 (5):461-471.

●Rajagopalan V, Corpuz EO, Hubenschmidt MJ, Townsend CR, Asai DJ, Wilkes DE. 2009. Analysis of properties of cilia using Tetrahymena thermophila. Methods Mol.Biol. 586:283-299.

●Rajagopalan V, Subramanian A, Wilkes DE, Pennock DG, Asai DJ. 2009. Dynein-2 affects the regulation of ciliary length but is not required for ciliogenesis in Tetrahymena thermophila. Mol.Biol.Cell 20 (2):708-720.

●Rannestad J. 1974. The regeneration of cilia in partially deciliated Tetrahymena. J.Cell Biol. 63 (3):1009-1017.

●Vincensini L, Blisnick T, Bastin P. 2011. 1001 Model Organisms to Study Cilia and Flagella. Biol.Cell. 103 (3):109-130.

See our glossary for the terms used in the modules.