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J Cell Sci. 2010 Nov 15;123(Pt 22):3966-77. doi: 10.1242/jcs.073908. Epub 2010 Oct 27.

The AP-1 clathrin adaptor facilitates cilium formation and functions with RAB-8 in C. elegans ciliary membrane transport.

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School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science, UCD Conway Institute, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.


Clathrin adaptor (AP) complexes facilitate membrane trafficking between subcellular compartments. One such compartment is the cilium, whose dysfunction underlies disorders classified as ciliopathies. Although AP-1mu subunit (UNC-101) is linked to cilium formation and targeting of transmembrane proteins (ODR-10) to nematode sensory cilia at distal dendrite tips, these functions remain poorly understood. Here, using Caenorhabditis elegans sensory neurons and mammalian cell culture models, we find conservation of AP-1 function in facilitating cilium morphology, positioning and orientation, and microtubule stability and acetylation. These defects appear to be independent of IFT, because AP-1-depleted cells possess normal IFT protein localisation and motility. By contrast, disruption of chc-1 (clathrin) or rab-8 phenocopies unc-101 worms, preventing ODR-10 vesicle formation and causing misrouting of ODR-10 to all plasma membrane destinations. Finally, ODR-10 colocalises with RAB-8 in cell soma and they cotranslocate along dendrites, whereas ODR-10 and UNC-101 signals do not overlap. Together, these data implicate conserved roles for metazoan AP-1 in facilitating cilium structure and function, and suggest cooperation with RAB-8 to coordinate distinct early steps in neuronal ciliary membrane sorting and trafficking.

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