Centrosome: Definition & Function

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  • 0:00 What is a Centrosome?
  • 0:22 Purpose
  • 1:12 Role in Cell Division
  • 2:05 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jeremy Battista

Jeremy has a master of science degree in education.

There are many different organelles found inside of our cells, and each one carries with it specific functional responsibilities. In this lesson, we will be looking at centrosomes and the roles they play in cellular function.

What Is a Centrosome?

Centrosomes are structures that are found inside of cells. They are only found inside of eukaryotic cells. Centrosomes are comprised of two centrioles that are essentially just rings of microtubules.


The purpose of the centrosome is to help organize microtubules (hollow tubes of protein, similar looking to microscopic hollow spaghetti) to be utilized during cell division. It also works to use the microtubules to create part of the cytoskeleton of the cell. This helps give the cell its structure. In a sense, the centrosome helps to stabilize the structure of the cell. While these might seem like simplistic tasks, they are extremely important and critical roles.

The centrosome itself consists of two centrioles that are held perpendicular to one another. The centrioles are just a fancy way to name a specific arrangement of microtubules. They are held together in a set way: as stacks of three microtubules that are connected in nine bundles arranged in a ring. If you were to cut a cross section of it, it would appear to look like a star.

Role in Cell Division

As stated earlier, centrosomes are essential for cell division. During cell division, the centrioles that make up the centrosome begin to push away from another centrosome. As they do, small mitotic spindles made of microtubules begin to form between the two distinct centrosomes. The centrosomes move away from one another due to the lengthening of these microtubules.

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