Actin polymerization controls cilia-mediated signaling JOURNAL OF CELL BIOLOGY Drummond, M. L., Li, M., Tarapore, E., Nguyen, T. L., Barouni, B. J., Cruz, S., Tan, K. C., Oro, A. E., Atwood, S. X. 2018; 217 (9): 3255–66


Primary cilia are polarized organelles that allow detection of extracellular signals such as Hedgehog (Hh). How the cytoskeleton supporting the cilium generates and maintains a structure that finely tunes cellular response remains unclear. Here, we find that regulation of actin polymerization controls primary cilia and Hh signaling. Disrupting actin polymerization, or knockdown of N-WASp/Arp3, increases ciliation frequency, axoneme length, and Hh signaling. Cdc42, a potent actin regulator, recruits both atypical protein pinase C iota/lambda (aPKC) and Missing-in-Metastasis (MIM) to the basal body to maintain actin polymerization and restrict axoneme length. Transcriptome analysis implicates the Src pathway as a major aPKC effector. aPKC promotes whereas MIM antagonizes Src activity to maintain proper levels of primary cilia, actin polymerization, and Hh signaling. Hh pathway activation requires Smoothened-, Gli-, and Gli1-specific activation by aPKC. Surprisingly, longer axonemes can amplify Hh signaling, except when aPKC is disrupted, reinforcing the importance of the Cdc42-aPKC-Gli axis in actin-dependent regulation of primary cilia signaling.

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