Centrioles are highly structured organelles whose size is remarkably consistent within any given cell type. New centrioles are born when Polo-like kinase 4 (Plk4) recruits Ana2/STIL and Sas-6 to the side of an existing “mother” centriole. These two proteins then assemble into a cartwheel, which grows outwards to form the structural core of a new daughter. Here, we show that in early Drosophila melanogaster embryos, daughter centrioles grow at a linear rate during early S-phase and abruptly stop growing when they reach their correct size in mid- to late S-phase. Unexpectedly, the cartwheel grows from its proximal end, and Plk4 determines both the rate and period of centriole growth: the more active the centriolar Plk4, the faster centrioles grow, but the faster centriolar Plk4 is inactivated and growth ceases. Thus, Plk4 functions as a homeostatic clock, establishing an inverse relationship between growth rate and period to ensure that daughter centrioles grow to the correct size.
Recent studies have identified a conserved “core” of proteins that are required for centriole duplication. A small number of additional proteins have recently been identified as potential duplication factors, but it is unclear whether any of these proteins are components of the core duplication machinery. In this study, we investigate the function of one of these proteins, Drosophila melanogaster Ana3. We show that Ana3 is present in centrioles and basal bodies, but its behavior is distinct from that of the core duplication proteins. Most importantly, we find that Ana3 is required for the structural integrity of both centrioles and basal bodies and for centriole cohesion, but it is not essential for centriole duplication. We show that Ana3 has a mammalian homologue, Rotatin, that also localizes to centrioles and basal bodies and appears to be essential for cilia function. Thus, Ana3 defines a conserved family of centriolar proteins and plays an important part in ensuring the structural integrity of centrioles and basal bodies.