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Eur J Cell Biol. 2008 Mar;87(3):137-46. doi: 10.1016/j.ejcb.2007.10.004. Epub 2008 Jan 2.

Molecular dissection of ODF2/Cenexin revealed a short stretch of amino acids necessary for targeting to the centrosome and the primary cilium.

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Johann-Friedrich-Blumenbach-Institut für Zoologie, Anthropologie und Entwicklungsbiologie, Universität Göttingen, GZMB, Justus-von-Liebig-Weg 11, D-37077 Göttingen, Germany.


The outer dense fiber protein ODF2 is the major component of the sperm tail cytoskeleton and a critical component of the mature centriole of the centrosome. Centriole maturation involves the formation of appendages and the recruitment of ODF2/Cenexin. ODF2 and Cenexin are alternative splice variants that differ in a short stretch of amino acids at their N-terminal regions encoded by exon 3b. Whereas Cenexin is ubiquitously expressed, Odf2 is the predominant transcript of testes [Hüber, D., Hoyer-Fender, S., 2007. Alternative splicing of exon 3b gives rise to ODF2 and Cenexin. Cytogenet. Genome Res. 119, doi:10.1159/000109621]. Here, we show that testicular expression of Odf2 correlates with spermiogenesis and ongoing sperm tail formation thus implicating functional differences between ODF2 and Cenexin. By generation of a series of ODF2/Cenexin deletion constructs fused to GFP and inspection of their subcellular localization in transfected NIH3T3 cells we found that a peptide of 42 amino acids specific for Cenexin is necessary for targeting ODF2/Cenexin to the centrosome and the primary cilium. Additionally, this region is also necessary for the formation of ODF2/Cenexin fibers that are associated with acetylated microtubules. Centrosomal targeting of ODF2/Cenexin does not depend on dynein-mediated transport further supporting an alternative targeting mechanism. However, part of the C-terminal coiled-coil region of ODF2 is also important in centrosomal/ciliary targeting and fiber formation presumably by supporting self-association and the formation of higher-order structures.

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