Cilia are microtubule based organelles that project from cells. Cilia are found on almostevery cell type of the human body and numerous diseases, collectively termed ciliopathies, are associated with defects in cilia, including respiratory infections, male infertility, situs inversus, polycystic kidney disease, retinal degeneration, and Bardet-Biedl Syndrome. Here we show that Illumina-based whole-genome transcriptome analysis in the biflagellate green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii identifies 1850 genes upregulated during ciliogenesis, 4392 genes down-regulated, and 4548 genes with no change in expression during ciliogenesis. We examined four genes up-regulated and not previously known to be involved with cilia (ZMYND10, NXN, GLOD4, SPATA4) by knockdown of the human orthologs in human retinal pigment epithelial cells (hTERT-RPE1) cells to ask whether they are involved in cilia-related processes that include cilia assembly, cilia length control, basal body/centriole numbers, and the distance between basal bodies/ centrioles. All of the genes have cilia-related phenotypes and, surprisingly, our data show that knockdown of GLOD4 and SPATA4 also affects the cell cycle. These results demonstrate that whole-genome transcriptome analysis during ciliogenesis is a powerful tool to gain insight intothe molecular mechanism by which centrosomes and cilia are assembled.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)979-991
Number of pages13
JournalG3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2013


  • Deflagellation
  • Flagella
  • GLOD4
  • NXN
  • SPATA4
  • ZMYND10


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