In each cell cycle, centrioles are duplicated to produce a single copy of each preexisting centriole. At the onset of centriole duplication, the master regulator Polo-like kinase 4 (Plk4) undergoes a dynamic change in its spatial pattern around the preexisting centriole, forming a single duplication site. However, the significance and mechanisms of this pattern transition remain unknown. Using super-resolution imaging, we found that centriolar Plk4 exhibits periodic discrete patterns resembling pearl necklaces, frequently with single prominent foci. Mathematical modeling and simulations incorporating the self-organization properties of Plk4 successfully generated the experimentally observed patterns. We therefore propose that the self-patterning of Plk4 is crucial for the regulation of centriole duplication. These results, defining the mechanisms of self-organized regulation, provide a fundamental principle for understanding centriole duplication.

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