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Mol Biol Cell. 2006 Feb;17(2):1033-40. Epub 2005 Dec 7.

Rootletin interacts with C-Nap1 and may function as a physical linker between the pair of centrioles/basal bodies in cells.

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  • 1The Berman-Gund Laboratory for the Study of Retinal Degenerations, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Boston, MA 02114, USA. jun_yang@meei.harvard.edu


Rootletin, a major structural component of the ciliary rootlet, is located at the basal bodies and centrosomes in ciliated and nonciliated cells, respectively. Here we investigated its potential role in the linkage of basal bodies/centrioles and the mechanism involved in such linkages. We show that rootletin interacts with C-Nap1, a protein restricted at the ends of centrioles and functioning in centrosome cohesion in interphase cells. Their interaction in vivo is supported by their colocalization at the basal bodies/centrioles and coordinated association with the centrioles during the cell cycle. Ultrastructural examinations demonstrate that rootletin fibers connect the basal bodies in ciliated cells and are present both at the ends of and in between the pair of centrioles in nonciliated cells. The latter finding stands in contrast with C-Nap1, which is present only at the ends of the centrioles. Transient expression of C-Nap1 fragments dissociated rootletin fibers from the centrioles, resulting in centrosome separation in interphase. Overexpression of rootletin in cells caused multinucleation, micronucleation, and irregularity of nuclear shape and size, indicative of defects in chromosome separation. These data suggest that rootletin may function as a physical linker between the pair of basal bodies/centrioles by binding to C-Nap1.

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