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Biol Cell. 2010 Jul 9;102(9):499-513. doi: 10.1042/BC20100035.

Transcriptional control of genes involved in ciliogenesis: a first step in making cilia.

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Centre de Génétique Moléculaire et Cellulaire, CNRS UMR 5534, Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1, Villeurbanne, Lyon, F69622, France.


Cilia and flagella have essential functions in a wide range of organisms. Cilia assembly is dynamic during development and different types of cilia are found in multicellular organisms. How this dynamic and specific assembly is regulated remains an important question in cilia biology. In metazoans, the regulation of the overall expression level of key components necessary for cilia assembly or function is an important way to achieve ciliogenesis control. The FOXJ1 (forkhead box J1) and RFX (regulatory factor X) family of transcription factors have been shown to be important players in controlling ciliary gene expression. They fulfill a complementary and synergistic function by regulating specific and common target genes. FOXJ1 is essential to allow for the assembly of motile cilia in vertebrates through the regulation of genes specific to motile cilia or necessary for basal body apical transport, whereas RFX proteins are necessary to assemble both primary and motile cilia in metazoans, in particular, by regulating genes involved in intraflagellar transport. Recently, different transcription factors playing specific roles in cilia biogenesis and physiology have also been discovered. All these factors are subject to complex regulation to allow for the dynamic and specific regulation of ciliogenesis in metazoans.

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