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1.  Bug22 influences cilium morphology and the post-translational modification of ciliary microtubules 
Biology Open  2014;3(2):138-151.
Cilia and flagella are organelles essential for motility and sensing of environmental stimuli. Depending on the cell type, cilia acquire a defined set of functions and, accordingly, are built with an appropriate length and molecular composition. Several ciliary proteins display a high degree of conservation throughout evolution and mutations in ciliary genes are associated with various diseases such as ciliopathies and infertility. Here, we describe the role of the highly conserved ciliary protein, Bug22, in Drosophila. Previous studies in unicellular organisms have shown that Bug22 is required for proper cilia function, but its exact role in ciliogenesis has not been investigated yet. Null Bug22 mutant flies display cilia-associated phenotypes and nervous system defects. Furthermore, sperm differentiation is blocked at the individualization stage, due to impaired migration of the individualization machinery. Tubulin post-translational modifications (PTMs) such as polyglycylation, polyglutamylation or acetylation, are determinants of microtubule (MT) functions and stability in centrioles, cilia and neurons. We found defects in the timely incorporation of polyglycylation in sperm axonemal MTs of Bug22 mutants. In addition, we found that depletion of human Bug22 in RPE1 cells resulted in the appearance of longer cilia and reduced axonemal polyglutamylation. Our work identifies Bug22 as a protein that plays a conserved role in the regulation of PTMs of the ciliary axoneme.
PMCID: PMC3925317  PMID: 24414207
Basal bodies; Cilia; Sperm individualization; Spermatogenesis; Tubulin post translation modifications
2.  Molecular characterization of centriole assembly in ciliated epithelial cells 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2007;178(1):31-42.
Ciliated epithelial cells have the unique ability to generate hundreds of centrioles during differentiation. We used centrosomal proteins as molecular markers in cultured mouse tracheal epithelial cells to understand this process. Most centrosomal proteins were up-regulated early in ciliogenesis, initially appearing in cytoplasmic foci and then incorporated into centrioles. Three candidate proteins were further characterized. The centrosomal component SAS-6 localized to basal bodies and the proximal region of the ciliary axoneme, and depletion of SAS-6 prevented centriole assembly. The intraflagellar transport component polaris localized to nascent centrioles before incorporation into cilia, and depletion of polaris blocked axoneme formation. The centriolar satellite component PCM-1 colocalized with centrosomal components in cytoplasmic granules surrounding nascent centrioles. Interfering with PCM-1 reduced the amount of centrosomal proteins at basal bodies but did not prevent centriole assembly. This system will help determine the mechanism of centriole formation in mammalian cells and how the limitation on centriole duplication is overcome in ciliated epithelial cells.
PMCID: PMC2064416  PMID: 17606865
3.  The novel centriolar satellite protein SSX2IP targets Cep290 to the ciliary transition zone 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2014;25(4):495-507.
The centriolar satellite protein SSX2IP mediates recruitment of Cep290 to the basal body of cilia. It promotes BBSome and Rab8 entry into cilia, as well as accumulation of the ciliary membrane protein SSTR3. The data establish SSX2IP as a novel targeting factor for ciliary membrane proteins cooperating with Cep290, the BBSome, and Rab8.
In differentiated human cells, primary cilia fulfill essential functions in converting mechanical or chemical stimuli into intracellular signals. Formation and maintenance of cilia require multiple functions associated with the centriole-derived basal body, from which axonemal microtubules grow and which assembles a gate to maintain the specific ciliary proteome. Here we characterize the function of a novel centriolar satellite protein, synovial sarcoma X breakpoint–interacting protein 2 (SSX2IP), in the assembly of primary cilia. We show that SSX2IP localizes to the basal body of primary cilia in human and murine ciliated cells. Using small interfering RNA knockdown in human cells, we demonstrate the importance of SSX2IP for efficient recruitment of the ciliopathy-associated satellite protein Cep290 to both satellites and the basal body. Cep290 takes a central role in gating proteins to the ciliary compartment. Consistent with that, loss of SSX2IP drastically reduces entry of the BBSome, which functions to target membrane proteins to primary cilia, and interferes with efficient accumulation of the key regulator of ciliary membrane protein targeting, Rab8. Finally, we show that SSX2IP knockdown limits targeting of the ciliary membrane protein and BBSome cargo, somatostatin receptor 3, and significantly reduces axoneme length. Our data establish SSX2IP as a novel targeting factor for ciliary membrane proteins cooperating with Cep290, the BBSome, and Rab8.
PMCID: PMC3923641  PMID: 24356449
4.  Paramecium BBS genes are key to presence of channels in Cilia 
Cilia  2012;1:16.
Changes in genes coding for ciliary proteins contribute to complex human syndromes called ciliopathies, such as Bardet-Biedl Syndrome (BBS). We used the model organism Paramecium to focus on ciliary ion channels that affect the beat form and sensory function of motile cilia and evaluate the effects of perturbing BBS proteins on these channels.
We used immunoprecipitations and mass spectrometry to explore whether Paramecium proteins interact as in mammalian cells. We used RNA interference (RNAi) and swimming behavior assays to examine the effects of BBS depletion on ciliary ion channels that control ciliary beating. Combining RNA interference and epitope tagging, we examined the effects of BBS depletion of BBS 7, 8 and 9 on the location of three channels and a chemoreceptor in cilia.
We found 10 orthologs of 8 BBS genes in P. tetraurelia. BBS1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8 and 9 co-immunoprecipitate. While RNAi reduction of BBS 7 and 9 gene products caused loss and shortening of cilia, RNAi for all BBS genes except BBS2 affected patterns of ciliary motility that are governed by ciliary ion channels. Swimming behavior assays pointed to loss of ciliary K+ channel function. Combining RNAi and epitope tagged ciliary proteins we demonstrated that a calcium activated K+ channel was no longer located in the cilia upon depletion of BBS 7, 8 or 9, consistent with the cells’ swimming behavior. The TRPP channel PKD2 was also lost from the cilia. In contrast, the ciliary voltage gated calcium channel was unaffected by BBS depletion, consistent with behavioral assays. The ciliary location of a chemoreceptor for folate was similarly unperturbed by the depletion of BBS 7, 8 or 9.
The co-immunoprecipitation of BBS 1,2,4,5,7,8, and 9 suggests a complex of BBS proteins. RNAi for BBS 7, 8 or 9 gene products causes the selective loss of K+ and PKD2 channels from the cilia while the critical voltage gated calcium channel and a peripheral receptor protein remain undisturbed. These channels govern ciliary beating and sensory function. Importantly, in P. tetraurelia we can combine studies of ciliopathy protein function with behavior and location and control of ciliary channels.
PMCID: PMC3556005  PMID: 23351336
5.  Acute Versus Chronic Loss of Mammalian Azi1/Cep131 Results in Distinct Ciliary Phenotypes 
PLoS Genetics  2013;9(12):e1003928.
Defects in cilium and centrosome function result in a spectrum of clinically-related disorders, known as ciliopathies. However, the complex molecular composition of these structures confounds functional dissection of what any individual gene product is doing under normal and disease conditions. As part of an siRNA screen for genes involved in mammalian ciliogenesis, we and others have identified the conserved centrosomal protein Azi1/Cep131 as required for cilia formation, supporting previous Danio rerio and Drosophila melanogaster mutant studies. Acute loss of Azi1 by knock-down in mouse fibroblasts leads to a robust reduction in ciliogenesis, which we rescue by expressing siRNA-resistant Azi1-GFP. Localisation studies show Azi1 localises to centriolar satellites, and traffics along microtubules becoming enriched around the basal body. Azi1 also localises to the transition zone, a structure important for regulating traffic into the ciliary compartment. To study the requirement of Azi1 during development and tissue homeostasis, Azi1 null mice were generated (Azi1Gt/Gt). Surprisingly, Azi1Gt/Gt MEFs have no discernible ciliary phenotype and moreover are resistant to Azi1 siRNA knock-down, demonstrating that a compensation mechanism exists to allow ciliogenesis to proceed despite the lack of Azi1. Cilia throughout Azi1 null mice are functionally normal, as embryonic patterning and adult homeostasis are grossly unaffected. However, in the highly specialised sperm flagella, the loss of Azi1 is not compensated, leading to striking microtubule-based trafficking defects in both the manchette and the flagella, resulting in male infertility. Our analysis of Azi1 knock-down (acute loss) versus gene deletion (chronic loss) suggests that Azi1 plays a conserved, but non-essential trafficking role in ciliogenesis. Importantly, our in vivo analysis reveals Azi1 mediates novel trafficking functions necessary for flagellogenesis. Our study highlights the importance of both acute removal of a protein, in addition to mouse knock-out studies, when functionally characterising candidates for human disease.
Author Summary
Cilia are slender projections from the surface of most mammalian cells and have sensory and sometimes motile functions. They are essential for mammalian development and defects in cilia lead to a group of human diseases, termed ciliopathies, with variable symptoms including embryonic lethality, lung and kidney defects, blindness and infertility. Cilia are complex structures composed of hundreds of components, whose individual functions are poorly understood. We screened for mammalian genes important in building cilia, and identified Azi1/Cep131, a gene previously shown to be required for cilia formation and function in fish and flies. We show that if we acutely reduce levels of Azi1 in mouse cells, fewer cells form cilia, but if we generate cells chronically lacking all Azi1, cilia form normally. In addition, mice without any Azi1 are healthy and viable, confirming normal cilia function. However, in these mice, the highly specialised ciliary structure of the sperm tail does not form, resulting in male infertility. We suggest Azi1 has conserved trafficking roles in both primary cilia and the specialised sperm flagella. Abruptly removing Azi1 results in instability causing the existing cilia network to collapse, whereas chronic deletion of Azi1 allows the system to re-equilibrate, and cilia to form normally.
PMCID: PMC3887133  PMID: 24415959
6.  C-NAP1 and rootletin restrain DNA damage-induced centriole splitting and facilitate ciliogenesis 
Cell Cycle  2012;11(20):3769-3778.
Cilia are found on most human cells and exist as motile cilia or non-motile primary cilia. Primary cilia play sensory roles in transducing various extracellular signals, and defective ciliary functions are involved in a wide range of human diseases. Centrosomes are the principal microtubule-organizing centers of animal cells and contain two centrioles. We observed that DNA damage causes centriole splitting in non-transformed human cells, with isolated centrioles carrying the mother centriole markers CEP170 and ninein but not kizuna or cenexin. Loss of centriole cohesion through siRNA depletion of C-NAP1 or rootletin increased radiation-induced centriole splitting, with C-NAP1-depleted isolated centrioles losing mother markers. As the mother centriole forms the basal body in primary cilia, we tested whether centriole splitting affected ciliogenesis. While irradiated cells formed apparently normal primary cilia, most cilia arose from centriolar clusters, not from isolated centrioles. Furthermore, C-NAP1 or rootletin knockdown reduced primary cilium formation. Therefore, the centriole cohesion apparatus at the proximal end of centrioles may provide a target that can affect primary cilium formation as part of the DNA damage response.
PMCID: PMC3495820  PMID: 23070519
centrosome; DNA damage response; kizuna; C-NAP1; NEK2
7.  Scoring a backstage pass: Mechanisms of ciliogenesis and ciliary access 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2012;197(6):697-709.
Cilia are conserved, microtubule-based cell surface projections that emanate from basal bodies, membrane-docked centrioles. The beating of motile cilia and flagella enables cells to swim and epithelia to displace fluids. In contrast, most primary cilia do not beat but instead detect environmental or intercellular stimuli. Inborn defects in both kinds of cilia cause human ciliopathies, diseases with diverse manifestations such as heterotaxia and kidney cysts. These diseases are caused by defects in ciliogenesis or ciliary function. The signaling functions of cilia require regulation of ciliary composition, which depends on the control of protein traffic into and out of cilia.
PMCID: PMC3373398  PMID: 22689651
8.  Basal body stability and ciliogenesis requires the conserved component Poc1 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2009;187(6):905-920.
Poc1 shores up basal bodies to support cilia formation in Tetrahymena thermophila, zebrafish, and humans; Poc1 depletion causes phenotypes commonly seen in ciliopathies.
Centrioles are the foundation for centrosome and cilia formation. The biogenesis of centrioles is initiated by an assembly mechanism that first synthesizes the ninefold symmetrical cartwheel and subsequently leads to a stable cylindrical microtubule scaffold that is capable of withstanding microtubule-based forces generated by centrosomes and cilia. We report that the conserved WD40 repeat domain–containing cartwheel protein Poc1 is required for the structural maintenance of centrioles in Tetrahymena thermophila. Furthermore, human Poc1B is required for primary ciliogenesis, and in zebrafish, DrPoc1B knockdown causes ciliary defects and morphological phenotypes consistent with human ciliopathies. T. thermophila Poc1 exhibits a protein incorporation profile commonly associated with structural centriole components in which the majority of Poc1 is stably incorporated during new centriole assembly. A second dynamic population assembles throughout the cell cycle. Our experiments identify novel roles for Poc1 in centriole stability and ciliogenesis.
PMCID: PMC2806327  PMID: 20008567
9.  Basal body assembly in ciliates: the power of numbers 
Traffic (Copenhagen, Denmark)  2009;10(5):461-471.
Centrioles perform the dual functions of organizing both centrosomes and cilia. The biogenesis of nascent centrioles is an essential cellular event that is tightly coupled to the cell cycle so that each cell contains only two or four centrioles at any given point in the cell cycle. The assembly of centrioles and their analogs, basal bodies, is well characterized at the ultrastructural level whereby structural modules are built into a functional organelle. Genetic studies in model organisms combined with proteomic, bioinformatic, and identifying ciliary disease gene orthologs have revealed a wealth of molecules requiring further analysis to determine their roles in centriole duplication, assembly, and function. Nonetheless, at this stage our understanding of how molecular components interact to build new centrioles and basal bodies is limited. The ciliates, Tetrahymena and Paramecium, historically have been the subject of cytological and genetic study of basal bodies. Recent advances in the ciliate genetic and molecular toolkit have placed these model organisms in a favorable position to study the molecular mechanisms of centriole and basal body assembly.
PMCID: PMC2743681  PMID: 19192246
ciliate; Tetrahymena; Paramecium; basal body; centriole; microtubule; cilia; centrosome
10.  CSPP Is a Ciliary Protein Interacting with Nephrocystin 8 and Required for Cilia Formation 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2010;21(15):2555-2567.
CSPP and CSPP-L are centrosomal proteins of known mitotic function. Here, we identify CSPP proteins as ciliary proteins and place them into a NPHP protein network crucial for normal cilia-dependent renal and retinal tissue architecture. Importantly, CSPP-L is found to be required for ciliogenesis and shown to be a cilia length modulator.
We described previously the cell cycle- and microtubule-related functions of two splice isoforms of the centrosome spindle pole-associated protein (CSPP and CSPP-L). Here, we show that endogenous CSPP isoforms not only localize to centrosomes and the midbody in cycling cells but also extend to the cilia axoneme in postmitotic resting cells. They are required for ciliogenesis in hTERT-RPE1 cells in vitro and are expressed in ciliated renal, retinal, and respiratory cells in vivo. We report that CSPP isoforms require their common C-terminal domain to interact with Nephrocystin 8 (NPHP8/RPGRIP1L) and to form a ternary complex with NPHP8 and NPHP4. We find CSPP-L to be required for the efficient localization of NPHP8 but not NPHP4 to the basal body. The ciliogenesis defect in hTERT-RPE1 cells is, however, not mediated through loss of NPHP8. Similar to the effects of ectopical expression of CSPP-L, cilia length increased in NPHP8-depleted cells. Our results thus suggest that CSPP proteins may be involved in further cytoskeletal organization of the basal body and its primary cilium. To conclude, we have identified a novel, nonmitotic function of CSPP proteins placing them into a ciliary protein network crucial for normal renal and retinal tissue architecture and physiology.
PMCID: PMC2912343  PMID: 20519441
11.  Multigene Family Encoding 3′,5′-Cyclic-GMP-Dependent Protein Kinases in Paramecium tetraurelia Cells 
Eukaryotic Cell  2006;5(1):77-91.
In the ciliate Paramecium tetraurelia, 3′,5′-cyclic GMP (cGMP) is one of the second messengers involved in several signal transduction pathways. The enzymes for its production and degradation are well established for these cells, whereas less is known about the potential effector proteins. On the basis of a current Paramecium genome project, we have identified a multigene family with at least 35 members, all of which encode cGMP-dependent protein kinases (PKGs). They can be classified into 16 subfamilies with several members each. Two of the genes, PKG1-1 and PKG2-1, were analyzed in more detail after molecular cloning. They encode monomeric enzymes of 770 and 819 amino acids, respectively, whose overall domain organization resembles that in higher eukaryotes. The enzymes contain a regulatory domain of two tandem cyclic nucleotide-binding sites flanked by an amino-terminal region for intracellular localization and a catalytic domain with highly conserved regions for ATP binding and catalysis. However, some Paramecium PKGs show a different structure. In Western blots, PKGs are detected both as cytosolic and as structure-bound forms. Immunofluorescence labeling shows enrichment in the cell cortex, notably around the dense-core secretory vesicles (trichocysts), as well as in cilia. Immunogold electron microscopy analysis reveals consistent labeling of ciliary membranes, of the membrane complex composed of cell membrane and cortical Ca2+ stores, and of regions adjacent to ciliary basal bodies, trichocysts, and trafficking vesicles. Since PKGs (re)phosphorylate the exocytosis-sensitive phosphoprotein pp63/pf upon stimulation, the role of PKGs during stimulated exocytosis is discussed, in addition to a role in ciliary beat regulation.
PMCID: PMC1360248  PMID: 16400170
12.  The role of cortical orientation in the control of the direction of ciliary beat in Paramecium 
The Journal of Cell Biology  1975;64(1):98-112.
The swimming behavior of many ciliate protozoans depends on graded changes in the direction of the ciliary effective stroke in response to depolarizing stimuli (i.e., the avoiding reaction of Paramecium). We investigated the problem of whether the directional response of cilia with a variable plane of beat is related to the polarity of the cell as a whole or to the orientation of the cortical structures themselves. To do this, we used a stock of Paramecium aurelia with part of the cortex reversed 180 degrees. We determined the relation of the orientation of the kineties (ciliary rows) to the direction of beat in these mosaic paramecia by cinemicrography of particle movements near living cells and by scanning electron microscopy of instantaneously fixed material. We found that the cilia of the inverted rows always beat in the direction opposite to that of normally oriented cilia during both forward and backward swimming. In addition, metachronal waves of ciliary coordination were present on the inverted patch, travelling in the direction opposite to those on the normal cortex. The reference point for the directional response of Paramecium cilia to stimuli thus resides within the cilia or their immediate cortical surroundings.
PMCID: PMC2109467  PMID: 45847
13.  An Essential Role for DYF-11/MIP-T3 in Assembling Functional Intraflagellar Transport Complexes 
PLoS Genetics  2008;4(3):e1000044.
MIP-T3 is a human protein found previously to associate with microtubules and the kinesin-interacting neuronal protein DISC1 (Disrupted-in-Schizophrenia 1), but whose cellular function(s) remains unknown. Here we demonstrate that the C. elegans MIP-T3 ortholog DYF-11 is an intraflagellar transport (IFT) protein that plays a critical role in assembling functional kinesin motor-IFT particle complexes. We have cloned a loss of function dyf-11 mutant in which several key components of the IFT machinery, including Kinesin-II, as well as IFT subcomplex A and B proteins, fail to enter ciliary axonemes and/or mislocalize, resulting in compromised ciliary structures and sensory functions, and abnormal lipid accumulation. Analyses in different mutant backgrounds further suggest that DYF-11 functions as a novel component of IFT subcomplex B. Consistent with an evolutionarily conserved cilia-associated role, mammalian MIP-T3 localizes to basal bodies and cilia, and zebrafish mipt3 functions synergistically with the Bardet-Biedl syndrome protein Bbs4 to ensure proper gastrulation, a key cilium- and basal body-dependent developmental process. Our findings therefore implicate MIP-T3 in a previously unknown but critical role in cilium biogenesis and further highlight the emerging role of this organelle in vertebrate development.
Author Summary
The transport of protein complexes and associated cargo along microtubule tracks represents an essential eukaryotic process responsible for a multitude of cellular functions, including cell division, vesicle movement to membranes, and trafficking along dendrites, axons, and cilia. The latter organelles are hair-like cellular appendages implicated in cell and fluid motility, sensing and transducing information from their environment, and development. Their biogenesis and maintenance depends on a kinesin- and dynein-mediated motility process termed intraflagellar transport (IFT). In addition to comprising these specialized molecular motors, the IFT machinery consists of large multisubunit complexes whose exact composition and organization has not been fully defined. Here we identify a protein, DYF-11/MIP-T3, that is conserved in all ciliated organisms and is associated with IFT in C. elegans. Disruption of C. elegans DYF-11 results in structurally compromised cilia, likely as a result of IFT motor and subunit misassembly. Animals lacking DYF-11 display chemosensory anomalies, consistent with a role for the protein in cilia-associated sensory processes. In zebrafish, MIP-T3 is essential for gastrulation movements during development, similar to that observed for other ciliary components, including Bardet-Biedl syndrome proteins. In conclusion, we have identified a novel IFT machinery component that is also essential for development in vertebrates.
PMCID: PMC2268012  PMID: 18369462
14.  The dynamic cilium in human diseases 
PathoGenetics  2009;2:3.
Cilia are specialized organelles protruding from the cell surface of almost all mammalian cells. They consist of a basal body, composed of two centrioles, and a protruding body, named the axoneme. Although the basic structure of all cilia is the same, numerous differences emerge in different cell types, suggesting diverse functions. In recent years many studies have elucidated the function of 9+0 primary cilia. The primary cilium acts as an antenna for the cell, and several important pathways such as Hedgehog, Wnt and planar cell polarity (PCP) are transduced through it. Many studies on animal models have revealed that during embryogenesis the primary cilium has an essential role in defining the correct patterning of the body. Cilia are composed of hundreds of proteins and the impairment or dysfunction of one protein alone can cause complete loss of cilia or the formation of abnormal cilia. Mutations in ciliary proteins cause ciliopathies which can affect many organs at different levels of severity and are characterized by a wide spectrum of phenotypes. Ciliary proteins can be mutated in more than one ciliopathy, suggesting an interaction between proteins. To date, little is known about the role of primary cilia in adult life and it is tempting to speculate about their role in the maintenance of adult organs. The state of the art in primary cilia studies reveals a very intricate role. Analysis of cilia-related pathways and of the different clinical phenotypes of ciliopathies helps to shed light on the function of these sophisticated organelles. The aim of this review is to evaluate the recent advances in cilia function and the molecular mechanisms at the basis of their activity.
PMCID: PMC2694804  PMID: 19439065
15.  CP110 and its network of partners coordinately regulate cilia assembly 
Cilia  2013;2:9.
Cilia are hair-like protrusions found at the surface of most eukaryotic cells. They can be divided into two types, motile and non-motile. Motile cilia are found in a restricted number of cell types, are generally present in large numbers, and beat in a coordinated fashion to generate fluid flow or locomotion. Non-motile or primary cilia, on the other hand, are detected in many different cell types, appear once per cell, and primarily function to transmit signals from the extracellular milieu to the cell nucleus. Defects in cilia formation, function, or maintenance are known to cause a bewildering set of human diseases, or ciliopathies, typified by retinal degeneration, renal failure and cystic kidneys, obesity, liver dysfunction, and neurological disorders. A common denominator between motile and primary cilia is their structural similarity, as both types of cilia are composed of an axoneme, the ciliary backbone that is made up of microtubules emanating from a mother centriole/basal body anchored to the cell membrane, surrounded by a ciliary membrane continuous with the plasma membrane. This structural similarity is indicative of a universal mechanism of cilia assembly involving a common set of molecular players and a sophisticated, highly regulated series of molecular events. In this review, we will mainly focus on recent advances in our understanding of the regulatory mechanisms underlying cilia assembly, with special attention paid to the centriolar protein, CP110, its interacting partner Cep290, and the various downstream molecular players and events leading to intraflagellar transport (IFT), a process that mediates the bidirectional movement of protein cargos along the axoneme and that is essential for cilia formation and maintenance.
PMCID: PMC3744162  PMID: 24053599
Centrosomes; Cilia; Ciliogenesis; CP110; Cep290; BBSome; IFT; Protein network
16.  Hook2 is involved in the morphogenesis of the primary cilium 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2011;22(23):4549-4562.
Hook2 partitions between the Golgi apparatus and the centrosome, and its depletion hinders ciliogenesis after mother centriole maturation without Golgi breakdown. Hook2 interacts with PCM1 and Rab8a, and Hook2-depleted cells can be forced to grow primary cilia by overexpressing GFP::Rab8a, indicating that Rab8a acts downstream of Hook2 and PCM1.
Primary cilia originate from the centrosome and play essential roles in several cellular, developmental, and pathological processes, but the underlying mechanisms of ciliogenesis are not fully understood. Given the involvement of the adaptor protein Hook2 in centrosomal homeostasis and protein transport to pericentrosomal aggresomes, we explored its role in ciliogenesis. We found that in human retinal epithelial cells, Hook2 localizes at the Golgi apparatus and centrosome/basal body, a strategic partitioning for ciliogenesis. Of importance, Hook2 depletion disrupts ciliogenesis at a stage before the formation of the ciliary vesicle at the distal tip of the mother centriole. Using two hybrid and immunoprecipitation assays and a small interfering RNA strategy, we found that Hook2 interacts with and stabilizes pericentriolar material protein 1 (PCM1), which was reported to be essential for the recruitment of Rab8a, a GTPase that is believed to be crucial for membrane transport to the primary cilium. Of interest, GFP::Rab8a coimmunoprecipitates with endogenous Hook2 and PCM1. Finally, GFP::Rab8a can overcome Hook2 depletion, demonstrating a functional interaction between Hook2 and these two important regulators of ciliogenesis. The data indicate that Hook2 interacts with PCM1 in a complex that also contains Rab8a and regulates a limiting step required for further initiation of ciliogenesis after centriole maturation.
PMCID: PMC3226474  PMID: 21998199
17.  Stages of Ciliogenesis and Regulation of Ciliary Length 
Cilia and flagella are highly conserved eukaryotic microtubule-based organelles that protrude from the surface of most mammalian cells. These structures require large protein complexes and motors for distal addition of tubulin and extension of the ciliary membrane. In order for ciliogenesis to occur, coordination of many processes must take place. An intricate concert of cell cycle regulation, vesicular trafficking, and ciliary extension must all play out with accurate timing to produce a cilium. Here, we review the stages of ciliogenesis as well as regulation of the length of the assembled cilium. Regulation of ciliogenesis during cell cycle progression centers on centrioles, from which cilia extend upon maturation into basal bodies. Centriole maturation involves a shift from roles in cell division to cilium nucleation via migration to the cell surface and docking at the plasma membrane. Docking is dependent on a variety of proteinaceous structures, termed distal appendages, acquired by the mother centriole. Ciliary elongation by the process of intraflagellar transport (IFT) ensues. Direct modification of ciliary structures, as well as modulation of signal transduction pathways, play a role in maintenance of the cilium. All of these stages are tightly regulated to produce a cilium of the right size at the right time. Finally, we discuss the implications of abnormal ciliogenesis and ciliary length control in human disease as well as some open questions.
PMCID: PMC3269565  PMID: 22178116
Length control; Intraflagellar transport; Ciliopathies; Ciliary signaling; Pharmacology
18.  GEF1 is a Ciliary Sec7 GEF of Tetrahymena thermophila 
Ciliary guanine nucleotide exchange factors (GEFs) potentially activate G proteins in intraflagellar transport (IFT) cargo release. Several classes of GEFs have been localized to cilia or basal bodies and shown to be functionally important in the prevention of ciliopathies, but ciliary Arl-type Sec 7 related GEFs have not been well characterized. Nair et al. (1999) identified a Paramecium ciliary Sec7 GEF, PSec7. In Tetrahymena, Gef1p (GEF1), tentatively identified by PSec7 antibody, possesses ciliary and nuclear targeting sequences and like PSec7 localizes to cilia and macronuclei. Upregulation of GEF1 RNA followed deciliation and subsequent ciliary regrowth. Corresponding to similar Psec7 domains, GEF1domains contain IQ-like motifs and putative PH domains, in addition to GBF/BIG canonical motifs. Genomic analysis identified two additional Tetrahymena GBF/BIG Sec7 family GEFs (GEF2, GEF3), which do not possess ciliary targeting sequences. GEF1 and GEF2 were HA modified to determine cellular localization. Cells transformed to produce appropriately truncated GEF1-HA showed localization to somatic and oral cilia, but not to macronuclei. Subtle defects in ciliary stability and function were detected. GEF2-HA localized near basal bodies but not to cilia. These results indicate that GEF1 is the resident Tetrahymena ciliary protein orthologous to PSec7.
PMCID: PMC2767173  PMID: 19267341
IFT; GEF; cilia; Arl G proteins; PH domains; IQ motifs
19.  The Role of Cilia in the Regulation of Bile Flow 
Cholangiocytes, the epithelial cells lining intrahepatic bile ducts, are ciliated cells. Each cholangiocyte has a primary cilium consisting of (i) a microtubule-based axoneme and (ii) the basal body, centriole-derived, microtubule-organizing center from which the axoneme emerges. Primary cilia in cholangiocytes were described decades ago, but their physiological and pathophysiological significance remained unclear until recently. We now recognize that cholangiocyte cilia extend from the apical plasma membrane into the bile duct lumen and, as such, are ideally positioned to detect changes in bile flow, bile composition and bile osmolality. These sensory organelles act as cellular antennae that can detect and transmit signals that influence cholangiocyte function. Indeed, recent data show that cholangiocyte primary cilia can activate intracellular signaling pathways when they sense modifications in the flow, molecular constituents and osmolarity of bile. Their ability to sense and transmit signals depends on the participation of a growing number of specific ciliary-associated proteins that act as receptors, channels and transporters. Cholangiocyte cilia, in addition to being important in normal biliary physiology, likely contribute to the cholangiopathies when their normal structure or function is disturbed. Indeed, the polycystic liver diseases that occur in combination with autosomal dominant and recessive polycystic kidney disease (i.e. ADPKD and ARPKD) are two important examples of such conditions. Recent insights into the role of cholangiocyte cilia in cystic liver disease using in vitro and animal models have already resulted in clinical trials that have influenced the management of cystic liver disease.
PMCID: PMC3128136  PMID: 21691098
Cholangiocyte; Cilia; Cholangiociliopathies; Mechanosensation; Chemosensation; Osmosensation
20.  Alcohol stimulates ciliary motility of isolated airway axonemes through a nitric oxide, cyclase and cyclic nucleotide-dependent kinase mechanism 
Lung mucociliary clearance provides the first line of defense from lung infections and is impaired in individuals who consume heavy amounts of alcohol. Previous studies have demonstrated that this alcohol-induced ciliary dysfunction (AICD) occurs through impairment of the nitric oxide (NO) and cyclic nucleotide-dependent kinase-signaling pathways in lung airway ciliated epithelial cells. Recent studies have established that all key elements of this alcohol-driven signaling pathway co-localize to the apical surface of the ciliated cells with the basal bodies. These findings led us to hypothesize that alcohol activates the cilia stimulation pathway at the organelle level. To test this hypothesis we performed experiments exposing isolated demembranated cilia (isolated axonemes) to alcohol and studied the effect of alcohol-stimulated ciliary motility on the pathways involved with isolated axoneme activation.
Isolated demembranated cilia were prepared from bovine trachea and activated with adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Ciliary beat frequency (CBF), NO production, adenylyl and guanylyl cyclase activities, cAMP- and cGMP-dependent kinase activities were measured following exposure to biologically relevant concentrations of alcohol.
Alcohol rapidly stimulated axoneme beating 40% above baseline at very low concentrations of alcohol (1-10 mM). This activation was specific to ethanol, required the synthesis of NO, the activation of soluble adenylyl cyclase (sAC) and the activation of both cAMP- and cGMP-dependent kinases (PKA and PKG), all of which were present in the isolated organelle preparation.
Alcohol rapidly and sequentially activates the eNOS→NO→GC→cGMP→PKG and sAC→cAMP→ PKA dual signaling pathways in isolated airway axonemes. These findings indicate a direct effect of alcohol on airway cilia organelle function and fully recapitulate the alcohol-driven activation of cilia known to exist in vivo and in intact lung ciliated cells in vitro following brief moderate alcohol exposure. Furthermore, these findings indicate that airway cilia are exquisitely sensitive to the effects of alcohol and substantiate a key role for alcohol in the alterations of mucociliary clearance associated with even low levels of alcohol intake. We speculate that this same axoneme-based alcohol activation pathway is down regulated following long term high alcohol exposure and that the isolated axoneme preparation provides an excellent model for studying the mechanism of alcohol-mediated cilia dysfunction.
PMCID: PMC2749507  PMID: 19183138
cilia; axonemes; mucociliary clearance; alcohol; ethanol; cAMP; cGMP; PKA; PKG; lung epithelium
21.  Pericentrin forms a complex with intraflagellar transport proteins and polycystin-2 and is required for primary cilia assembly 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2004;166(5):637-643.
Primary cilia are nonmotile microtubule structures that assemble from basal bodies by a process called intraflagellar transport (IFT) and are associated with several human diseases. Here, we show that the centrosome protein pericentrin (Pcnt) colocalizes with IFT proteins to the base of primary and motile cilia. Immunogold electron microscopy demonstrates that Pcnt is on or near basal bodies at the base of cilia. Pcnt depletion by RNA interference disrupts basal body localization of IFT proteins and the cation channel polycystin-2 (PC2), and inhibits primary cilia assembly in human epithelial cells. Conversely, silencing of IFT20 mislocalizes Pcnt from basal bodies and inhibits primary cilia assembly. Pcnt is found in spermatocyte IFT fractions, and IFT proteins are found in isolated centrosome fractions. Pcnt antibodies coimmunoprecipitate IFT proteins and PC2 from several cell lines and tissues. We conclude that Pcnt, IFTs, and PC2 form a complex in vertebrate cells that is required for assembly of primary cilia and possibly motile cilia and flagella.
PMCID: PMC2172416  PMID: 15337773
pericentrin; intraflagellar transport; centrioles; centrosomes; polycystin
22.  Centriolar Association of ALMS1 and Likely Centrosomal Functions of the ALMS Motif–containing Proteins C10orf90 and KIAA1731 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2010;21(21):3617-3629.
This study reveals the subcentrosomal distribution of ALMS1, a human protein implicated in primary cilium formation and maintenance, and provides new insight into its centrosome-related functions. The first functional data on two human proteins sharing C-terminal sequence similarity with ALMS1 are also presented.
Mutations in the human gene ALMS1 cause Alström syndrome, a rare progressive condition characterized by neurosensory degeneration and metabolic defects. ALMS1 protein localizes to the centrosome and has been implicated in the assembly and/or maintenance of primary cilia; however its precise function, distribution within the centrosome, and mechanism of centrosomal recruitment are unknown. The C-terminus of ALMS1 contains a region with similarity to the uncharacterized human protein C10orf90, termed the ALMS motif. Here, we show that a third human protein, the candidate centrosomal protein KIAA1731, contains an ALMS motif and that exogenously expressed KIAA1731 and C10orf90 localize to the centrosome. However, based on deletion analysis of ALMS1, the ALMS motif appears unlikely to be critical for centrosomal targeting. RNAi analyses suggest that C10orf90 and KIAA1731 have roles in primary cilium assembly and centriole formation/stability, respectively. We also show that ALMS1 localizes specifically to the proximal ends of centrioles and basal bodies, where it colocalizes with the centrosome cohesion protein C-Nap1. RNAi analysis reveals markedly diminished centrosomal levels of C-Nap1 and compromised cohesion of parental centrioles in ALMS1-depleted cells. In summary, these data suggest centrosomal functions for C10orf90 and KIAA1731 and new centriole-related functions for ALMS1.
PMCID: PMC2965680  PMID: 20844083
23.  The UNI1 and UNI2 Genes Function in the Transition of Triplet to Doublet Microtubules between the Centriole and Cilium in Chlamydomonas 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2009;20(1):368-378.
One fundamental role of the centriole in eukaryotic cells is to nucleate the growth of cilia. The unicellular alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii provides a simple genetic system to study the role of the centriole in ciliogenesis. Wild-type cells are biflagellate, but “uni” mutations result in failure of some centrioles (basal bodies) to assemble cilia (flagella). Serial transverse sections through basal bodies in uni1 and uni2 single and double mutant cells revealed a previously undescribed defect in the transition of triplet microtubules to doublet microtubules, a defect correlated with failure to assemble flagella. Phosphorylation of the Uni2 protein is reduced in uni1 mutant cells. Immunogold electron microscopy showed that the Uni2 protein localizes at the distal end of the basal body where microtubule transition occurs. These results provide the first mechanistic insights into the function of UNI1 and UNI2 genes in the pathway mediating assembly of doublet microtubules in the axoneme from triplet microtubules in the basal body template.
PMCID: PMC2613092  PMID: 19005206
24.  Targeting of β-Arrestin2 to the Centrosome and Primary Cilium: Role in Cell Proliferation Control 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(11):e3728.
The primary cilium is a sensory organelle generated from the centrosome in quiescent cells and found at the surface of most cell types, from where it controls important physiological processes. Specific sets of membrane proteins involved in sensing the extracellular milieu are concentrated within cilia, including G protein coupled receptors (GPCRs). Most GPCRs are regulated by β-arrestins, βarr1 and βarr2, which control both their signalling and endocytosis, suggesting that βarrs may also function at primary cilium.
Methodology/Principal Findings
In cycling cells, βarr2 was observed at the centrosome, at the proximal region of the centrioles, in a microtubule independent manner. However, βarr2 did not appear to be involved in classical centrosome-associated functions. In quiescent cells, both in vitro and in vivo, βarr2 was found at the basal body and axoneme of primary cilia. Interestingly, βarr2 was found to interact and colocalize with 14-3-3 proteins and Kif3A, two proteins known to be involved in ciliogenesis and intraciliary transport. In addition, as suggested for other centrosome or cilia-associated proteins, βarrs appear to control cell cycle progression. Indeed, cells lacking βarr2 were unable to properly respond to serum starvation and formed less primary cilia in these conditions.
Our results show that βarr2 is localized to the centrosome in cycling cells and to the primary cilium in quiescent cells, a feature shared with other proteins known to be involved in ciliogenesis or primary cilium function. Within cilia, βarr2 may participate in the signaling of cilia-associated GPCRs and, therefore, in the sensory functions of this cell “antenna”.
PMCID: PMC2579577  PMID: 19008961
25.  Drosophila Bld10 Is a Centriolar Protein That Regulates Centriole, Basal Body, and Motile Cilium Assembly 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2009;20(10):2605-2614.
Cilia and flagella play multiple essential roles in animal development and cell physiology. Defective cilium assembly or motility represents the etiological basis for a growing number of human diseases. Therefore, how cilia and flagella assemble and the processes that drive motility are essential for understanding these diseases. Here we show that Drosophila Bld10, the ortholog of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii Bld10p and human Cep135, is a ubiquitous centriolar protein that also localizes to the spermatid basal body. Mutants that lack Bld10 assemble centrioles and form functional centrosomes, but centrioles and spermatid basal bodies are short in length. bld10 mutant flies are viable but male sterile, producing immotile sperm whose axonemes are deficient in the central pair of microtubules. These results show that Drosophila Bld10 is required for centriole and axoneme assembly to confer cilium motility.
PMCID: PMC2682601  PMID: 19321663

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