ABSTRACT: Primary cilia are assembled and maintained by evolutionarily conserved intraflagellar transport (IFT) proteins that are involved in the coordinated movement of macromolecular cargo from the basal body to the cilium tip and back. The IFT machinery is organized in two structural complexes named complex A and complex B. Recently, inactivation in the mouse germline of Ift genes belonging to complex B revealed a requirement of ciliogenesis, or proteins involved in ciliogenesis, for Sonic Hedgehog (Shh) signaling in mammals. Here we report on a complex A mutant mouse, defective for the Ift122 gene. Ift122-null embryos show multiple developmental defects (exencephaly, situs viscerum inversus, delay in turning, hemorrhage and defects in limb development) that result in lethality. In the node, primary cilia were absent or malformed in homozygous mutant and heterozygous embryos, respectively. Impairment of the Shh pathway was apparent in both neural tube patterning (expansion of motoneurons and rostro-caudal level-dependent contraction or expansion of the dorso-lateral interneurons), and limb patterning (ectrosyndactyly). These phenotypes are distinct from both complex B IFT mutant embryos and embryos defective for the ciliary protein hennin/Arl13b, and suggest reduced levels of both Gli2/Gli3 activator and Gli3 repressor functions. We conclude that complex A and complex B factors play similar but distinct roles in ciliogenesis and Shh/Gli3 signaling.
Developmental Biology 11/2008; 325(1):225-37. · 4.07 Impact Factor