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1.  MKS and NPHP modules cooperate to establish basal body/transition zone membrane associations and ciliary gate function during ciliogenesis 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2011;192(6):1023-1041.
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.
doi:10.1083/jcb.201012116
PMCID: PMC3063147  PMID: 21422230
2.  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.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1000044
PMCID: PMC2268012  PMID: 18369462
3.  The WD Repeat-containing Protein IFTA-1 Is Required for Retrograde Intraflagellar Transport 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2006;17(12):5053-5062.
The assembly and maintenance of cilia require intraflagellar transport (IFT), a microtubule-dependent bidirectional motility of multisubunit protein complexes along ciliary axonemes. Defects in IFT and the functions of motile or sensory cilia are associated with numerous human ailments, including polycystic kidney disease and Bardet–Biedl syndrome. Here, we identify a novel Caenorhabditis elegans IFT gene, IFT-associated gene 1 (ifta-1), which encodes a WD repeat-containing protein with strong homology to a mammalian protein of unknown function. Both the C. elegans and human IFTA-1 proteins localize to the base of cilia, and in C. elegans, IFTA-1 can be observed to undergo IFT. IFTA-1 is required for the function and assembly of cilia, because a C. elegans ifta-1 mutant displays chemosensory abnormalities and shortened cilia with prominent ciliary accumulations of core IFT machinery components that are indicative of retrograde transport defects. Analyses of C. elegans IFTA-1 localization/motility along bbs mutant cilia, where anterograde IFT assemblies are destabilized, and in a che-11 IFT gene mutant, demonstrate that IFTA-1 is closely associated with the IFT particle A subcomplex, which is implicated in retrograde IFT. Together, our data indicate that IFTA-1 is a novel IFT protein that is required for retrograde transport along ciliary axonemes.
doi:10.1091/mbc.E06-06-0571
PMCID: PMC1679672  PMID: 17021254

Results 1-3 (3)