Ciliopathies are genetically heterogeneous disorders characterized by variable expressivity and overlaps between different disease entities. This is exemplified by the short rib-polydactyly syndromes, Jeune, Sensenbrenner, and Mainzer-Saldino chondrodysplasia syndromes. These three syndromes are frequently caused by mutations in intraflagellar transport (IFT) genes affecting the primary cilia, which play a crucial role in skeletal and chondral development. Here, we identified mutations in IFT140, an IFT complex A gene, in five Jeune asphyxiating thoracic dystrophy (JATD) and two Mainzer-Saldino syndrome (MSS) families, by screening a cohort of 66 JATD/MSS patients using whole exome sequencing and targeted resequencing of a customized ciliopathy gene panel. We also found an enrichment of rare IFT140 alleles in JATD compared with nonciliopathy diseases, implying putative modifier effects for certain alleles. IFT140 patients presented with mild chest narrowing, but all had end-stage renal failure under 13 years of age and retinal dystrophy when examined for ocular dysfunction. This is consistent with the severe cystic phenotype of Ift140 conditional knockout mice, and the higher level of Ift140 expression in kidney and retina compared with the skeleton at E15.5 in the mouse. IFT140 is therefore a major cause of cono-renal syndromes (JATD and MSS). The present study strengthens the rationale for IFT140 screening in skeletal ciliopathy spectrum patients that have kidney disease and/or retinal dystrophy.
cilia; Jeune asphyxiating thoracic dystrophy; Mainzer-Saldino syndrome; IFT140; NGS
Cilia are microtubule-based cell appendages, serving motility, chemo-/mechano-/photo- sensation, and developmental signaling functions. Cilia are comprised of distinct structural and functional subregions including the basal body, transition zone (TZ) and inversin (Inv) compartments, and defects in this organelle are associated with an expanding spectrum of inherited disorders including Bardet-Biedl syndrome (BBS), Meckel-Gruber Syndrome (MKS), Joubert Syndrome (JS) and Nephronophthisis (NPHP). Despite major advances in understanding ciliary trafficking pathways such as intraflagellar transport (IFT), how proteins are transported to subciliary membranes remains poorly understood. Using Caenorhabditis elegans and mammalian cells, we investigated the transport mechanisms underlying compartmentalization of JS-associated ARL13B/ARL-13, which we previously found is restricted at proximal ciliary membranes. We now show evolutionary conservation of ARL13B/ARL-13 localisation to an Inv-like subciliary membrane compartment, excluding the TZ, in many C. elegans ciliated neurons and in a subset of mammalian ciliary subtypes. Compartmentalisation of C. elegans ARL-13 requires a C-terminal RVVP motif and membrane anchoring to prevent distal cilium and nuclear targeting, respectively. Quantitative imaging in more than 20 mutants revealed differential contributions for IFT and ciliopathy modules in defining the ARL-13 compartment; IFT-A/B, IFT-dynein and BBS genes prevent ARL-13 accumulation at periciliary membranes, whereas MKS/NPHP modules additionally inhibit ARL-13 association with TZ membranes. Furthermore, in vivo FRAP analyses revealed distinct roles for IFT and MKS/NPHP genes in regulating a TZ barrier to ARL-13 diffusion, and intraciliary ARL-13 diffusion. Finally, C. elegans ARL-13 undergoes IFT-like motility and quantitative protein complex analysis of human ARL13B identified functional associations with IFT-B complexes, mapped to IFT46 and IFT74 interactions. Together, these findings reveal distinct requirements for sequence motifs, IFT and ciliopathy modules in defining an ARL-13 subciliary membrane compartment. We conclude that MKS/NPHP modules comprise a TZ barrier to ARL-13 diffusion, whereas IFT genes predominantly facilitate ARL-13 ciliary entry and/or retention via active transport mechanisms.
Protruding from most cells surfaces is a hair-like extension called the primary cilium. This organelle functions as a cellular antenna, receiving physical and chemical signals such as light, odorants, and molecules that coordinate cell growth, differentiation and migration. Underscoring their importance, cilium defects underlie an expanding spectrum of diseases termed ciliopathies, characterised by wide-ranging symptoms such as cystic kidneys, blindness and bone abnormalities. A key question is how ciliary proteins are targeted to and retained within cilia. The best understood system is intraflagellar transport (IFT), thought to ferry proteins between the ciliary base and tip. Also, ciliopathy protein modules organise protein diffusion barriers at the ciliary base transition zone (TZ). Despite major advances, it remains poorly understood how proteins are targeted to cilia, and ciliary membrane subdomains in particular. Here, we investigated how Joubert syndrome-associated ARL13B/ARL-13 is compartmentalized at subciliary membranes. Using C. elegans nematodes and mammalian cell experimental systems, we uncovered differential requirements for sequence motifs, IFT and ciliopathy modules in regulating ARL-13 ciliary restriction, mobility and compartment length. Also, we provide essential insight into how IFT and ciliopathy-associated protein complexes and modules influence ciliary membrane protein transport, diffusion across the TZ, the integrity of the ciliary membrane, and subciliary protein composition.
Jeune asphyxiating thoracic dystrophy (JATD) is a rare, often lethal, recessively inherited chondrodysplasia characterised by shortened ribs and long bones, sometimes accompanied by polydactyly, and renal, liver and retinal disease. Mutations in intraflagellar transport (IFT) genes cause JATD, including the IFT dynein-2 motor subunit gene DYNC2H1. Genetic heterogeneity and the large DYNC2H1 gene size have hindered JATD genetic diagnosis.
Aims and methods
To determine the contribution to JATD we screened DYNC2H1 in 71 JATD patients JATD patients combining SNP mapping, Sanger sequencing and exome sequencing.
Results and conclusions
We detected 34 DYNC2H1 mutations in 29/71 (41%) patients from 19/57 families (33%), showing it as a major cause of JATD especially in Northern European patients. This included 13 early protein termination mutations (nonsense/frameshift, deletion, splice site) but no patients carried these in combination, suggesting the human phenotype is at least partly hypomorphic. In addition, 21 missense mutations were distributed across DYNC2H1 and these showed some clustering to functional domains, especially the ATP motor domain. DYNC2H1 patients largely lacked significant extra-skeletal involvement, demonstrating an important genotype–phenotype correlation in JATD. Significant variability exists in the course and severity of the thoracic phenotype, both between affected siblings with identical DYNC2H1 alleles and among individuals with different alleles, which suggests the DYNC2H1 phenotype might be subject to modifier alleles, non-genetic or epigenetic factors. Assessment of fibroblasts from patients showed accumulation of anterograde IFT proteins in the ciliary tips, confirming defects similar to patients with other retrograde IFT machinery mutations, which may be of undervalued potential for diagnostic purposes.
Clinical Genetics; Molecular Genetics; Developmental; Diagnostics; Genetic Screening/Counselling
A spectrum of complex oligogenic disorders called the ciliopathies have been connected to dysfunction of cilia. Among the ciliopathies are Nephronophthisis (NPHP), characterized by cystic kidney disease and retinal degeneration, and Meckel–Gruber syndrome (MKS), a gestational lethal condition with skeletal abnormalities, cystic kidneys and CNS malformation. Mutations in multiple genes have been identified in NPHP and MKS patients, and an unexpected finding has been that mutations within the same gene can cause either disorder. Further, there is minimal genotype–phenotype correlation and despite recessive inheritance, numerous patients were identified as having a single heterozygous mutation. This has made it difficult to determine the significance of these mutations on disease pathogenesis and led to the hypothesis that clinical presentation in an individual will be determined by genetic interactions between mutations in multiple cilia-related genes. Here we utilize Caenorhabditis elegans and cilia-associated behavioral and morphologic assays to evaluate the pathogenic potential of eight previously reported human NPHP4 missense mutations. We assess the impact of these mutations on C. elegans NPHP-4 function, localization and evaluate potential interactions with mutations in MKS complex genes, mksr-2 and mksr-1. Six out of eight nphp-4 mutations analyzed alter ciliary function, and three of these modify the severity of the phenotypes caused by disruption of mksr-2 and mksr-1. Collectively, our studies demonstrate the utility of C. elegans as a tool to assess the pathogenicity of mutations in ciliopathy genes and provide insights into the complex genetic interactions contributing to the diversity of phenotypes associated with cilia disorders.
The ciliopathies are an expanding group of disorders caused by mutations in genes implicated in the biogenesis and function of primary cilia. Bardet-Biedl syndrome (BBS) is a model ciliopathy characterized by progressive retinal degeneration, obesity, polydactyly, cognitive impairment, kidney anomalies and hypogonadism. Mutations in SDCCAG8(NPHP10) were described recently in patients with nephronophthisis and retinal degeneration (Senior-Loken syndrome; SLS). Given the phenotypic and genetic overlap between known ciliopathy genes, we hypothesized that mutations in SDCCAG8 might also contribute alleles to more severe, multisystemic ciliopathies. We performed genetic and phenotypic analyses of 2 independent BBS cohorts. Subsequent to mutation screening, we made a detailed phenotypic analysis of 5 families mutated for SDCCAG8 (3 homozygous and 2 compound heterozygous mutations) and conducted statistical analyses across both cohorts to examine possible phenotype-genotype correlations with mutations at this locus. All patients with mutations in SDCCAG8 fulfilled the diagnostic criteria for BBS (retinal degeneration, obesity, cognitive defects, renal failure, hypogonadism). Interestingly, none of the patients with primary SDCCAG8 mutations had polydactyly, a frequent but not obligatory BBS feature. In contrast, the same patients displayed early-onset renal failure, obesity, as well as recurrent pulmonary and ENT infections. Comparison of the phenotypes of these families with our entire BBS cohort indicated that renal impairment and absent polydactyly correlated significantly with causal SDCCAG8 mutations. Thus, SDCCAG8 mutations are sufficient to cause BBS in 1–2% of our combined cohorts, and define this gene as the sixteenth BBS locus (BBS16). The absence of polydactyly and the concomitant, apparently fully penetrant association with early kidney failure represents the first significant genotype-phenotype correlation in BBS that potentially represents an indicator for phenotype-driven priority screening and informs specific patient management.
Bardet-Biedl; Ciliopathy; Nephronophthisis; Polydactyly; SDCCAG8
The causes and mechanisms leading to loss of visual function in Jeune syndrome have not been extensively explored. The authors show that zebrafish lacking ift80, a gene responsible for a subset of Jeune syndrome, undergo photoreceptor degeneration in a mechanism consistent with defects in cilia maintenance.
Jeune's asphyxiating thoracic dystrophy (JATD) is an autosomal recessive disorder with symptoms of retinal degeneration, kidney cysts, and chondrodysplasia and results from mutations in the ift80 gene. This study was conducted to characterize zebrafish lacking ift80 function for photoreceptor degeneration and defects in ciliogenesis to establish zebrafish as a vertebrate model for visual dysfunction in JATD and to determine whether ift80 interacts genetically with Bardet-Biedl syndrome (BBS) genes.
Zebrafish were injected with morpholinos (MOs) targeted to the ift80 gene. Retinas were analyzed by histology, transmission electron microscopy, and immunohistochemistry. Ear and kidney cilia were analyzed by whole-mount immunostaining. Intraflagellar transport (IFT) particle composition was subjected to Western blot analysis. Genetic interactions were tested by coinjection of MOs against ift80 and bbs4 or bbs8 followed by in situ hybridization.
Zebrafish lacking ift80 function exhibited defects in photoreceptor outer segment formation and photoreceptor death. Staining with opsin antibodies revealed opsin mislocalization in both rods and cones. Ultrastructural analysis showed abnormal disc stacking and shortened photoreceptor outer segments. The kinocilia of the ear and motile cilia in the kidney were shorter and reduced in number. Western blot analysis revealed a slight increase in the stability of other IFT proteins. Coinjection of MOs against ift80 and BBS genes led to convergent-extension defects.
Zebrafish lacking ift80 exhibited defects characteristic of JATD. Because the developing outer segments degenerated, Ift80 could possibly act as a maintenance factor for the IFT particle.
Nephronophthisis-associated ciliopathies (NPHP-AC) comprise a group of autosomal recessive cystic kidney diseases that includes nephronophthisis (NPHP), Senior-Loken syndrome (SLS), Joubert syndrome (JBTS), and Meckel-Gruber syndrome (MKS). To date, causative mutations in NPHP-AC have been described for 18 different genes, rendering mutation analysis tedious and expensive. To overcome the broad genetic locus heterogeneity we devised a strategy of DNA pooling with consecutive massively parallel resequencing (MPR).
In 120 patients with severe NPHP-AC phenotypes we prepared 5 pools of genomic DNA with 24 patients each which were used as templates in order to PCR-amplify all 376 exons of 18 NPHP-AC genes (NPHP1, INVS, NPHP3, NPHP4, IQCB1, CEP290, GLIS2, RPGRIP1L, NEK8, TMEM67, INPP5E, TMEM216, AHI1, ARL13B, CC2D2A, TTC21B, MKS1, and XPNPEP3). PCR products were then subjected to MPR on a Illumina Genome-Analyzer and mutations were subsequently assigned to their respective mutation carrier via CEL I endonuclease-based heteroduplex screening and confirmed by Sanger sequencing.
For proof of principle we used DNA from patients with known mutations and demonstrated the detection of 22 out of 24 different alleles (92% sensitivity). MPR led to the molecular diagnosis in 30/120 patients (25%) and we identified 54 pathogenic mutations (27 novel) in 7 different NPHP-AC genes. Additionally, in 24 patients we only found single heterozygous variants of unknown significance.
The combined approach of DNA pooling followed by MPR strongly facilitates mutation analysis in broadly heterogeneous single-gene disorders. The lack of mutations in 75% of patients in our cohort indicates further extensive heterogeneity in NPHP-AC.
Next-generation sequencing; Ciliopathy; Nephronophthisis
Jeune's Asphyxiating Thoracic Dystrophy (JATD) is an autosomal recessive disorder with symptoms of retinal degeneration, kidney cysts, and chondrodysplasia and results from mutations in the ift80 gene. This study was conducted to characterize zebrafish lacking ift80 function for photoreceptor degeneration and defects in ciliogenesis in order to establish zebrafish as a vertebrate model for visual dysfunction in JATD and to determine if ift80 interacts genetically with Bardet-Biedl Syndrome (BBS) genes.
Zebrafish were injected with morpholinos (MOs) targeted to the ift80 gene. Retinas were analyzed by histology, transmission electron microscopy, and immunohistochemistry. Ear and kidney cilia were analyzed by whole-mount immunostaining. Intraflagellar Transport (IFT) particle composition was analyzed by Western blotting. Genetic interactions were tested by co-injection of MOs against ift80 and bbs4 or bbs8 followed by in situ hybridization.
Zebrafish lacking ift80 function exhibited defects in photoreceptor outer segment formation, and photoreceptor death. Staining with opsin antibodies revealed opsin mislocalization in both rods and cones. Ultrastructural analysis showed abnormal disk stacking and shortened photoreceptor outer segments. The kinocilia of the ear and motile cilia in the kidney were shorter and reduced in number. Western blotting revealed a slight increase in the stability of other IFT proteins. Co-injection of MOs against ift80 and BBS genes led to convergent-extension defects.
Zebrafish lacking ift80 exhibited defects characteristic of Jeune's Asphyxiating Thoracic Dystrophy. Because the developing outer segments degenerated, Ift80 could possibly act as a maintenance factor for the IFT particle.
Ciliopathies are pleiotropic and genetically heterogeneous disorders caused by defective development and function of the primary cilium. Bardet-Biedl syndrome (BBS) proteins localize to the base of cilia and undergo intraflagellar transport, and the loss of their functions leads to a multisystemic ciliopathy. Here we report the identification of mutations in guanylate cyclases (GCYs) as modifiers of Caenorhabditis elegans bbs endophenotypes. The loss of GCY-35 or GCY-36 results in suppression of the small body size, developmental delay, and exploration defects exhibited by multiple bbs mutants. Moreover, an effector of cGMP signalling, a cGMP-dependent protein kinase, EGL-4, also modifies bbs mutant defects. We propose that a misregulation of cGMP signalling, which underlies developmental and some behavioural defects of C. elegans bbs mutants, may also contribute to some BBS features in other organisms.
Bardet-Biedl syndrome (BBS) is a genetically heterogeneous, multisystemic disorder. Defects to the cilium, an evolutionarily conserved organelle, cause ciliopathies, a growing class of diseases that includes BBS. BBS proteins are involved in the vesicular transport of proteins to the cilium and in the process of intraflagellar transport. Here we show that, in addition to sensory defects, Caenorhabditis elegans bbs mutants exhibit reduced body size and delayed developmental timing. The reduced body size phenotype is not fully recapitulated by IFT mutants, suggesting that BBS proteins may have additional functions beyond bridging IFT motors. We further identified that the loss of function mutations in the soluble guanylate cyclase complex, GCY-35/GCY-36, results in a suppression of these defects. Interestingly, GCY-35/GCY-36 influences the body size through a cGMP-dependent protein kinase EGL-4 in a group of body cavity neurons. BBS proteins, on the other hand, function through a non-overlapping set of ciliated sensory neurons to influence cGMP signalling in the body cavity neurons. In conclusion, this study reveals a non-cell autonomous role for sensory cilia in regulating cGMP signalling during development. We propose that aberrant cGMP signalling, essential for a number of cellular processes, may also contribute to some ciliopathy features in other systems.
Eight proteins, defects in which are associated with Meckel-Gruber syndrome and nephronophthisis ciliopathies, work together as two functional modules at the transition zone to establish basal body/transition zone connections with the membrane and barricade entry of non-ciliary components into this organelle.
Meckel-Gruber syndrome (MKS), nephronophthisis (NPHP), and related ciliopathies present with overlapping phenotypes and display considerable allelism between at least twelve different genes of largely unexplained function. We demonstrate that the conserved C. elegans B9 domain (MKS-1, MKSR-1, and MKSR-2), MKS-3/TMEM67, MKS-5/RPGRIP1L, MKS-6/CC2D2A, NPHP-1, and NPHP-4 proteins exhibit essential, collective functions at the transition zone (TZ), an underappreciated region at the base of all cilia characterized by Y-shaped assemblages that link axoneme microtubules to surrounding membrane. These TZ proteins functionally interact as members of two distinct modules, which together contribute to an early ciliogenic event. Specifically, MKS/MKSR/NPHP proteins establish basal body/TZ membrane attachments before or coinciding with intraflagellar transport–dependent axoneme extension and subsequently restrict accumulation of nonciliary components within the ciliary compartment. Together, our findings uncover a unified role for eight TZ-localized proteins in basal body anchoring and establishing a ciliary gate during ciliogenesis, and suggest that disrupting ciliary gate function contributes to phenotypic features of the MKS/NPHP disease spectrum.
Nephronophthisis (NPHP), an autosomal recessive cystic kidney disease, is the most frequent genetic cause for end-stage renal failure in the first 3 decades of life. Mutations in 13 genes (NPHP1-NPHP11, AHI1, and CC2D2A) cause NPHP with ubiquitous expression of the corresponding proteins consistent with the multiorgan involvement of NPHP-related diseases. The genotype-phenotype correlation in these ciliopathies can be explained by gene locus heterogeneity, allelism, and the impact of modifier genes. In some NPHP-related ciliopathies, the nature of the recessive mutations determines disease severity. In order to define the genotypephenotype correlation more clearly, we evaluated a worldwide cohort of 440 patients from 365 families with NPHP-related ciliopathies, in whom both disease-causing alleles were identified. The phenotypes were ranked in the order of severity from degenerative to degenerative/ dysplastic to dysplastic. A genotype of 2 null alleles caused a range of phenotypes with an increasing order of severity of NPHP1, NPHP3, NPHP4, NPHP5, NPHP2, NPHP10, NPHP6 to AHI1. Only NPHP6 showed allelic influences on the phenotypes; the presence of 2 null mutations caused dysplastic phenotypes, whereas at least one missense allele rescued it to a milder degenerative phenotype. We also found 9 novel mutations in the NPHP genes. Thus, our studies have important implications for genetic counseling and planning of renal replacement therapy.
cystic kidney; end-stage renal disease; genetic renal disease; human genetics; pediatric nephrology
Mutations in components of the intraflagellar transport (IFT) machinery required for assembly and function of the primary cilium cause a subset of human ciliopathies characterized primarily by skeletal dysplasia. Recently, mutations in the IFT-A gene IFT144 have been described in patients with Sensenbrenner and Jeune syndromes, which are associated with short ribs and limbs, polydactyly and craniofacial defects. Here, we describe an N-ethyl-N-nitrosourea-derived mouse mutant with a hypomorphic missense mutation in the Ift144 gene. The mutant twinkle-toes (Ift144twt) phenocopies a number of the skeletal and craniofacial anomalies seen in patients with human skeletal ciliopathies. Like other IFT-A mouse mutants, Ift144 mutant embryos display a generalized ligand-independent expansion of hedgehog (Hh) signalling, in spite of defective ciliogenesis and an attenuation of the ability of mutant cells to respond to upstream stimulation of the pathway. This enhanced Hh signalling is consistent with cleft palate and polydactyly phenotypes in the Ift144twt mutant, although extensive rib branching, fusion and truncation phenotypes correlate with defects in early somite patterning and may reflect contributions from multiple signalling pathways. Analysis of embryos harbouring a second allele of Ift144 which represents a functional null, revealed a dose-dependent effect on limb outgrowth consistent with the short-limb phenotypes characteristic of these ciliopathies. This allelic series of mouse mutants provides a unique opportunity to uncover the underlying mechanistic basis of this intriguing subset of ciliopathies.
Cilia are architecturally complex organelles that protrude from the cell membrane and have signalling, sensory and motility functions that are central to normal tissue development and homeostasis. There are two broad categories of cilia; motile and non-motile, or primary, cilia. The central role of primary cilia in health and disease has become prominent in the past decade with the recognition of a number of human syndromes that result from defects in the formation or function of primary cilia. This rapidly growing class of conditions, now known as ciliopathies, impact the development of a diverse range of tissues including the neural axis, craniofacial structures, skeleton, kidneys, eyes and lungs. The broad impact of cilia dysfunction on development reflects the pivotal position of the primary cilia within a signalling nexus involving a growing number of growth factor systems including Hedgehog, Pdgf, Fgf, Hippo, Notch and both canonical Wnt and planar cell polarity. We have identified a novel ENU mutant allele of Ift140, which causes a mid-gestation embryonic lethal phenotype in homozygous mutant mice. Mutant embryos exhibit a range of phenotypes including exencephaly and spina bifida, craniofacial dysmorphism, digit anomalies, cardiac anomalies and somite patterning defects. A number of these phenotypes can be attributed to alterations in Hedgehog signalling, although additional signalling systems are also likely to be involved. We also report the identification of a homozygous recessive mutation in IFT140 in a Jeune syndrome patient. This ENU-induced Jeune syndrome model will be useful in delineating the origins of dysmorphology in human ciliopathies.
Skeletal ciliopathies are an emerging field of human disease in which skeletal birth defects arise due to abnormal communication between cells. This failure in communication arises following mutation in components of the primary cilia, a hair-like structure present on every cell. The skeletal ciliopathies are debilitating and in severe cases lead to death in early infancy. However, the mechanisms by which these malformations come about remains unclear. Mouse models are often used to delineate the causes of human birth defects and we have identified a model that mimics one of these conditions known as Jeune syndrome. It is the first mouse model with a mutation in the Ift140 gene, and these mice exhibit phenotypes that are often seen in this set of human syndromes. We have complimented this study with the discovery of a patient that presents with Jeune Syndrome resulting from mutation of human IFT140. This model will allow us to explore the role of IFT140 and the primary cilia in normal human development and provide insight into the field of human skeletal ciliopathies.
Ciliopathies are a group of heterogeneous disorders associated with ciliary dysfunction. Diseases in this group display considerable phenotypic variation within individual syndromes and overlapping phenotypes among clinically distinct disorders. Particularly, mutations in CEP290 cause phenotypically diverse ciliopathies ranging from isolated retinal degeneration, nephronophthisis and Joubert syndrome, to the neonatal lethal Meckel–Gruber syndrome. However, the underlying mechanisms of the variable expressivity in ciliopathies are not well understood. Here, we show that components of the BBSome, a protein complex composed of seven Bardet–Biedl syndrome (BBS) proteins, physically and genetically interact with CEP290 and modulate the expression of disease phenotypes caused by CEP290 mutations. The BBSome binds to the N-terminal region of CEP290 through BBS4 and co-localizes with CEP290 to the transition zone (TZ) of primary cilia and centriolar satellites in ciliated cells, as well as to the connecting cilium in photoreceptor cells. Although CEP290 still localizes to the TZ and connecting cilium in BBSome-depleted cells, its localization to centriolar satellites is disrupted and CEP290 appears to disperse throughout the cytoplasm in BBSome-depleted cells. Genetic interactions were tested using Cep290rd16- and Bbs4-null mutant mouse lines. Additional loss of Bbs4 alleles in Cep290rd16/rd16 mice results in increased body weight and accelerated photoreceptor degeneration compared with mice without Bbs4 mutations. Furthermore, double-heterozygous mice (Cep290+/rd16;Bbs4+/−) have increased body weight compared with single-heterozygous animals. Our data indicate that genetic interactions between BBSome components and CEP290 could underlie the variable expression and overlapping phenotypes of ciliopathies caused by CEP290 mutations.
Disorders within the “ciliopathy” spectrum include Joubert (JS), Bardet-Biedl syndromes (BBS) and nephronophthisis (NPHP). Although mutations in single ciliopathy genes can lead to these different syndromes between families, there have been no reports of phenotypic discordance within a single family. We report on two consanguineous families with discordant ciliopathies in sibling. In Ciliopathy-672, the older child displayed dialysis-dependent NPHP whereas the younger displayed the pathognomonic molar tooth MRI sign (MTS) of JS. A second branch displayed two additional children with NPHP. In Ciliopathy-1491, the oldest child displayed classical features of BBS whereas the two younger children displayed the MTS. Importantly, the children with BBS and NPHP lacked MTS, whereas children with JS lacked obesity or NPHP, and the child with BBS lacked MTS and NPHP. Features common to all three disorders included intellectual disability, postaxial polydactyly, and visual reduction. The variable phenotypic expressivity in this family suggests that genetic modifiers may determine specific clinical features within the ciliopathy spectrum.
Molar-tooth; polydactyly; intellectual disability; retinal blindness; obesity; nephronophthisis
Disorders within the “ciliopathy” spectrum include Joubert (JS), Bardet–Biedl syndromes (BBS), and nephronophthisis (NPHP). Although mutations in single ciliopathy genes can lead to these different syndromes between families, there have been no reports of phenotypic discordance within a single family. We report on two consanguineous families with discordant ciliopathies in sibling. In Ciliopathy-672, the older child displayed dialysis-dependent NPHP whereas the younger displayed the pathognomonic molar tooth MRI sign (MTS) of JS. A second branch displayed two additional children with NPHP. In Ciliopathy-1491, the oldest child displayed classical features of BBS whereas the two younger children displayed the MTS. Importantly, the children with BBS and NPHP lacked MTS, whereas children with JS lacked obesity or NPHP, and the child with BBS lacked MTS and NPHP. Features common to all three disorders included intellectual disability, postaxial polydactyly, and visual reduction. The variable phenotypic expressivity in this family suggests that genetic modifiers may determine specific clinical features within the ciliopathy spectrum. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
molar-tooth; polydactyly; intellectual disability; retinal blindness; obesity; nephronophthisis
The article describes characterization of the cilia protein Ttc26. The data show that Ttc26 is localized in the transition zone of primary cilia and photoreceptor cells. Knockdown of Ttc26 produced defective cilia in murine inner medullary collecting duct 3 cells and ciliogenesis defects in retinal photoreceptor and motile cilia in the pronephros in zebrafish.
In our effort to understand genetic disorders of the photoreceptor cells of the retina, we have focused on intraflagellar transport in photoreceptor sensory cilia. From previous mouse proteomic data we identified a cilia protein Ttc26, orthologue of dyf-13 in Caenorhabditis elegans, as a target. We localized Ttc26 to the transition zone of photoreceptor and to the transition zone of cilia in cultured murine inner medullary collecting duct 3 (mIMCD3) renal cells. Knockdown of Ttc26 in mIMCD3 cells produced shortened and defective primary cilia, as revealed by immunofluorescence and scanning electron microscopy. To study Ttc26 function in sensory cilia in vivo, we utilized a zebrafish vertebrate model system. Morpholino knockdown of ttc26 in zebrafish embryos caused ciliary defects in the pronephric kidney at 27 h postfertilization and distension/dilation of pronephros at 5 d postfertilization (dpf). In the eyes, the outer segments of photoreceptor cells appeared shortened or absent, whereas cellular lamination appeared normal in retinas at 5 dpf. This suggests that loss of ttc26 function prevents normal ciliogenesis and differentiation in the photoreceptor cells, and that ttc26 is required for normal development and differentiation in retina and pronephros. Our studies support the importance of Ttc26 function in ciliogenesis and suggest that screening for TTC26 mutations in human ciliopathies is justified.
IFT80, a protein component of intraflagellar transport (IFT) complex B, is required for the formation, maintenance and functionality of cilia. Mutations in IFT80 cause Jeune asphyxiating thoracic dystrophy (JATD) and short rib polydactyly (SRP) type III. Both diseases are autosomal recessive chondrodysplasias and share clinical and radiological similarities, including shortening of the long bones and constriction of the thoracic cage. A murine Ift80 gene-trap line was used to investigate the role of Ift80 during development. The homozygote appears hypomorphic rather than a true null due to low level wild-type transcript production by alternative splicing around the gene-trap cassette. Hypomorphic levels of Ift80 result in embryonic lethality highlighting a key role for Ift80 in development. In rare cases, gene-trap homozygotes survive to postnatal stages and phenocopy both JATD and SRP type III by exhibiting growth retardation, shortening of the long bones, constriction of the ribcage and polydactyly. Mouse embryonic fibroblasts made from this line showed a significant reduction in hedgehog pathway activation in response to Hedgehog analog treatment. This defective signalling was not accompanied by the loss or malformation of cilia as seen in some knockout models of other IFT component genes. Phenotypes indicative of defects in cilia structure or function such as situs inversus, cystic renal disease and retinal degeneration were not observed in this line. These data suggest that there is an absolute requirement for Ift80 in hedgehog signalling, but low level expression permits ciliogenesis indicating separate but linked roles for this protein in formation and function.
Bardet-Biedl syndrome (BBS) is a pleiotropic recessive disorder that belongs to the rapidly growing family of ciliopathies. It shares phenotypic traits with other ciliopathies, such as Alström syndrome (ALMS), nephronophthisis (NPHP) or Joubert syndrome. BBS mutations have been detected in 16 different genes (BBS1-BBS16) without clear genotype-to-phenotype correlation. This extensive genetic heterogeneity is a major concern for molecular diagnosis and genetic counselling. While various strategies have been recently proposed to optimise mutation detection, they either fail to detect mutations in a majority of patients or are time consuming and costly.
We tested a targeted exon-capture strategy coupled with multiplexing and high-throughput sequencing on 52 patients: 14 with known mutations as proof-of-principle and 38 with no previously detected mutation. Thirty genes were targeted in total including the 16 BBS genes, the 12 known NPHP genes, the single ALMS gene ALMS1 and the proposed modifier CCDC28B.
This strategy allowed the reliable detection of causative mutations (including homozygous/heterozygous exon deletions) in 68% of BBS patients without previous molecular diagnosis and in all proof-of-principle samples. Three probands carried homozygous truncating mutations in ALMS1 confirming the major phenotypic overlap between both disorders. The efficiency of detecting mutations in patients was positively correlated with their compliance with the classical BBS phenotype (mutations were identified in 81% of ‘classical’ BBS patients) suggesting that only a few true BBS genes remain to be identified. We illustrate some interpretation problems encountered due to the multiplicity of identified variants.
This strategy is highly efficient and cost effective for diseases with high genetic heterogeneity, and guarantees a quality of coverage in coding sequences of target genes suited for diagnosis purposes.
Targeted sequencing; ciliopathies; Bardet-Biedl syndrome; multiplexing; diagnosis
Nephronophthisis-related ciliopathies (NPHP-RC) are degenerative recessive diseases that affect kidney, retina and brain. Genetic defects in NPHP gene products that localize to cilia and centrosomes defined them as ‘ciliopathies’. However, disease mechanisms remain poorly understood. Here we identify by whole exome resequencing, mutations of MRE11, ZNF423, and CEP164 as causing NPHP-RC. All three genes function within the DNA damage response (DDR) pathway, hitherto not implicated in ciliopathies. We demonstrate that, upon induced DNA damage, the NPHP-RC proteins ZNF423, CEP164 and NPHP10 colocalize to nuclear foci positive for TIP60, known to activate ATM at sites of DNA damage. We show that knockdown of CEP164 or ZNF423 causes sensitivity to DNA damaging agents, and that cep164 knockdown in zebrafish results in dysregulated DDR and an NPHP-RC phenotype. We identify TTBK2, CCDC92, NPHP3 and DVL3 as novel CEP164 interaction partners. Our findings link degenerative diseases of kidney and retina, disorders of increasing prevalence, to mechanisms of DDR.
In addition to their role in motility, eukaryotic cilia serve as a distinct compartment for signal transduction and regulatory sequestration of biomolecules. Recent genetic and biochemical studies have revealed an extraordinary diversity of protein complexes involved in the biogenesis of cilia during each cell cycle. Mutations in components of these complexes are at the heart of human ciliopathies such as Nephronophthisis (NPHP), Meckel-Gruber syndrome (MKS), Bardet-Biedl syndrome (BBS) and Joubert syndrome (JBTS). Despite intense studies, proteins in some of these complexes, such as the NPHP1-4-8 and the MKS, remain poorly understood. Using a combination of computational analyses we studied these complexes to identify novel domains in them which might throw new light on their functions and evolutionary origins. First, we identified both catalytically active and inactive versions of transglutaminase-like (TGL) peptidase domains in key ciliary/centrosomal proteins CC2D2A/MKS6, CC2D2B, CEP76 and CCDC135. These ciliary TGL domains appear to have originated from prokaryotic TGL domains that act as peptidases, either in a prokaryotic protein degradation system with the MoxR AAA+ ATPase, the precursor of eukaryotic dyneins and midasins, or in a peptide-ligase system with an ATP-grasp enzyme comparable to tubulin-modifying TTL proteins. We suggest that active ciliary TGL proteins are part of a cilia-specific peptidase system that might remove tubulin modifications or cleave cilia- localized proteins, while the inactive versions are likely to bind peptides and mediate key interactions during ciliogenesis. Second, we observe a vast radiation of C2 domains, which are key membrane-localization modules, in multiple ciliary proteins, including those from the NPHP1-4-8 and the MKS complexes, such as CC2D2A/MKS6, RPGRIP1, RPGRIP1L, NPHP1, NPHP4, C2CD3, AHI1/Jouberin and CEP76, most of which can be traced back to the last eukaryotic ancestor. Identification of these TGL and C2 domains aid in the proper reconstruction of the Y-shaped linkers, which are key structures in the transitional zone of cilia, by allowing precise prediction of the multiple membrane-contacting and protein-protein interaction sites in these structures. These findings help decipher key events in the evolutionary separation of the ciliary and nuclear compartments in course of the emergence of the eukaryotic cell.
ciliogenesis; transglutaminase-like; membrane; tubulin-tyrosine ligase; C2; transition zone; Y-shaped linkers; evolution; origin of eukaryotes; ciliopathy
Bardet-Biedl syndrome (BBS) and nephronophthisis (NPH) are hereditary autosomal recessive disorders, encoded by two families of diverse genes. BBS and NPH display several overlapping phenotypes including cystic kidney disease, retinitis pigmentosa, liver fibrosis, situs inversus and cerebellar defects. Since most of the BBS and NPH proteins localize to cilia and/or their appendages, BBS and NPH are considered ciliopathies. In this study, we characterized the function of the transcription factor Nphp7 in zebrafish, and addressed the molecular connection between BBS and NPH. The knockdown of zebrafish bbs1 and nphp7.2 caused similar phenotypic changes including convergent extension defects, curvature of the body axis, hydrocephalus, abnormal heart looping and cystic pronephros, all consistent with an altered ciliary function. Immunoprecipitation assays revealed a physical interaction between BBS1 and NPHP7, and the simultaneous knockdown of zbbs1 and znphp7.2 enhanced the cystic pronephros phenotype synergistically, suggesting a genetic interaction between zbbs1 and znphp7.2 in vivo. Deletion of zBbs1 or zNphp7.2 did not compromise cilia formation, but disrupted cilia motility. Although NPHP7 has been shown to act as transcriptional repressor, our studies suggest a crosstalk between BBS1 and NPHP7 in regulating normal function of the cilium.
Intraflagellar transport (IFT) is a microtubule based system that supports the assembly and maintenance of cilia. Genetic and biochemical studies have identified two distinct complexes containing multiple proteins that are part of the IFT machinery. In this study we prepared mouse pituitary cells that expressed an epitope-tagged IFT protein and immuno-purified the IFT B complex from these cells. Mass spectrometry analysis of the isolated complex led to identification of a number of well known components of the IFT B complex. In addition, peptides corresponding to mouse tetratricopeptide repeat proteins, TTC30A1, TTC30A2 and TTC30B were identified. The mouse Ttc30A1, Ttc30A2, Ttc30B genes are orthologs of Caenorhabditis elegans dyf-1, which is required for assembly of the distal segment of the cilia. We used co-immunoprecipitation studies to provide evidence that, TTC30A1, TTC30A2 or TTC30B can be incorporated into a complex with a known IFT B protein, IFT52. We also found that TTC30B can interact with mouse KIF17, a kinesin which participates in IFT. In vitro expression in a cell-free system followed by co-immunoprecipitation also provided evidence that TTC30B can directly interact with several different IFT B complex proteins. The findings support the view that mouse TTC30A1, TTC30A2 and TTC30B can contribute to the IFT B complex, likely through interactions with multiple IFT proteins and also suggest a possible link to the molecular motor, KIF17 to support transport of cargo during IFT.
Intraflagellar transport; cilia; kinesin; tetratricopeptide repeat
Cilia are critical for diverse functions, from motility to signal transduction, and ciliary dysfunction causes inherited diseases termed ciliopathies. Several ciliopathy proteins influence developmental signalling and aberrant signalling explains many ciliopathy phenotypes. Ciliary compartmentalisation is essential for function, and the transition zone (TZ), found at the proximal end of the cilium, has recently emerged as a key player in regulating this process. Ciliary compartmentalisation is linked to two protein complexes, the MKS and NPHP complexes, at the TZ that consist largely of ciliopathy proteins, leading to the hypothesis that ciliopathy proteins affect signalling by regulating ciliary content. However, there is no consensus on complex composition, formation, or the contribution of each component.
Using bioinformatics, we examined the evolutionary patterns of TZ complex proteins across the extant eukaryotic supergroups, in both ciliated and non-ciliated organisms. We show that TZ complex proteins are restricted to the proteomes of ciliated organisms and identify a core conserved group (TMEM67, CC2D2A, B9D1, B9D2, AHI1 and a single TCTN, plus perhaps MKS1) which are present in >50% of all ciliate/flagellate organisms analysed in each supergroup. The smaller NPHP complex apparently evolved later than the larger MKS complex; this result may explain why RPGRIP1L, which forms the linker between the two complexes, is not one of the core conserved proteins. We also uncovered a striking correlation between lack of TZ proteins in non-seed land plants and loss of TZ-specific ciliary Y-links that link microtubule doublets to the membrane, consistent with the interpretation that these proteins are structural components of Y-links, or regulators of their formation.
This bioinformatic analysis represents the first systematic analysis of the cohort of TZ complex proteins across eukaryotic evolution. Given the near-ubiquity of only 6 proteins across ciliated eukaryotes, we propose that the MKS complex represents a dynamic complex built around these 6 proteins and implicated in Y-link formation and ciliary permeability.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-531) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
(3–10); Ciliopathy; Cilia; Transition zone; Compartmentalisation; Permeability; MKS; NPHP; Evolution
Hepatorenal fibrocystic diseases (HRFCDs) are among the most common inherited human disorders. The discovery that proteins defective in the autosomal dominant and recessive polycystic kidney diseases (ADPKD and ARPKD) localize to the primary cilia and the recognition of the role these organelles play in the pathogenesis of HRFCDs led to the term “ciliopathies.” While ADPKD and ARPKD are the most common ciliopathies associated with both liver and kidney disease, variable degrees of renal and/or hepatic involvement occur in many other ciliopathies, including Joubert, Bardet–Biedl, Meckel–Gruber, and oral–facial–digital syndromes. The ductal plate malformation (DPM), a developmental abnormality of the portobiliary system, is the basis of the liver disease in ciliopathies that manifest congenital hepatic fibrosis (CHF), Caroli syndrome (CS), and polycystic liver disease (PLD). Hepatocellular function remains relatively preserved in ciliopathy-associated liver diseases. The major morbidity associated with CHF is portal hypertension (PH), often leading to esophageal varices and hypersplenism. In addition, CD predisposes to recurrent cholangitis. PLD is not typically associated with PH, but may result in complications due to mass effects. The kidney pathology in ciliopathies ranges from non-functional cystic dysplastic kidneys to an isolated urinary concentration defect; the disorders contributing to this pathology, in addition to ADPKD and ARPKD, include nephronophithisis (NPHP), glomerulocystic kidney disease and medullary sponge kidneys. Decreased urinary concentration ability, resulting in polyuria and polydypsia, is the first and most common renal symptom in ciliopathies. While the majority of ADPKD, ARPKD, and NPHP patients require renal transplantation, the frequency and rate of progression to renal failure varies considerably in other ciliopathies. This review focuses on the kidney and liver disease found in the different ciliopathies.
ductal plate malformation; congenital hepatic fibrosis; Caroli syndrome; polycystic liver disease; portal hypertension; polycystic kidney disease; nephronophthisis; cystic dysplastic kidneys; medullary sponge kidney; multicystic dysplastic kidneys; primary cilia; ciliopathy