Conditional knockout mice for the distal appendage protein CEP164 reveal its essential roles in airway multiciliated cell differentiation

Saul S. Siller, Himanshu Sharma, Shuai Li, June Yang, Yong Zhang, Michael J. Holtzman, Wipawee Winuthayanon, Holly Colognato, Bernadette C. Holdener, Feng Qian Li, Ken Ichi Takemaru

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37 Scopus citations


Multiciliated cells of the airways, brain ventricles, and female reproductive tract provide the motive force for mucociliary clearance, cerebrospinal fluid circulation, and ovum transport. Despite their clear importance to human biology and health, the molecular mechanisms underlying multiciliated cell differentiation are poorly understood. Prior studies implicate the distal appendage/transition fiber protein CEP164 as a central regulator of primary ciliogenesis; however, its role in multiciliogenesis remains unknown. In this study, we have generated a novel conditional mouse model that lacks CEP164 in multiciliated tissues and the testis. These mice show a profound loss of airway, ependymal, and oviduct multicilia and develop hydrocephalus and male infertility. Using primary cultures of tracheal multiciliated cells as a model system, we found that CEP164 is critical for multiciliogenesis, at least in part, via its regulation of small vesicle recruitment, ciliary vesicle formation, and basal body docking. In addition, CEP164 is necessary for the proper recruitment of another distal appendage/transition fiber protein Chibby1 (Cby1) and its binding partners FAM92A and FAM92B to the ciliary base in multiciliated cells. In contrast to primary ciliogenesis, CEP164 is dispensable for the recruitment of intraflagellar transport (IFT) components to multicilia. Finally, we provide evidence that CEP164 differentially controls the ciliary targeting of membrane-associated proteins, including the small GTPases Rab8, Rab11, and Arl13b, in multiciliated cells. Altogether, our studies unravel unique requirements for CEP164 in primary versus multiciliogenesis and suggest that CEP164 modulates the selective transport of membrane vesicles and their cargoes into the ciliary compartment in multiciliated cells. Furthermore, our mouse model provides a useful tool to gain physiological insight into diseases associated with defective multicilia.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1007128
JournalPLoS genetics
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2017


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