16 February 2021

Brooke L. Latour, theme renal disorders, published an interesting article in the Journal of Clinical Investigation:

Joubert syndrome (JBTS) is a recessive neurodevelopmental ciliopathy characterized by a pathognomonic hindbrain malformation. All known JBTS genes encode proteins involved in the structure or function of primary cilia, ubiquitous antenna-like organelles essential for cellular signal transduction. Here, we used the recently identified JBTS-associated protein armadillo repeat motif–containing 9 (ARMC9) in tandem-affinity purification and yeast 2-hybrid screens to identify a ciliary module whose dysfunction underlies JBTS. In addition to the known JBTS-associated proteins CEP104 and CSPP1, we identified coiled-coil domain containing 66 (CCDC66) and TOG array regulator of axonemal microtubules 1 (TOGARAM1) as ARMC9 interaction partners. We found that TOGARAM1 variants cause JBTS and disrupt TOGARAM1 interaction with ARMC9. Using a combination of protein interaction analyses, characterization of patient-derived fibroblasts, and analysis of CRISPR/Cas9-engineered zebrafish and hTERT-RPE1 cells, we demonstrated that dysfunction of ARMC9 or TOGARAM1 resulted in short cilia with decreased axonemal acetylation and polyglutamylation, but relatively intact transition zone function. Aberrant serum-induced ciliary resorption and cold-induced depolymerization in ARMC9 and TOGARAM1 patient cell lines suggest a role for this new JBTS-associated protein module in ciliary stability.

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