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Axonemal structures reveal mechanoregulatory and disease mechanisms

Walton, Travis; Gui, Miao; Velkova, Simona; Fassad, Mahmoud R; Hirst, Robert A; Haarman, Eric; O’Callaghan, Christopher; ... Brown, Alan; + view all (2023) Axonemal structures reveal mechanoregulatory and disease mechanisms. Nature 10.1038/s41586-023-06140-2. Green open access

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Abstract

Motile cilia and flagella beat rhythmically on the surface of cells to power the flow of fluid and to enable spermatozoa and unicellular eukaryotes to swim. In humans, defective ciliary motility can lead to male infertility and a congenital disorder called primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD), in which impaired clearance of mucus by the cilia causes chronic respiratory infections1. Ciliary movement is generated by the axoneme, a molecular machine consisting of microtubules, ATP-powered dynein motors and regulatory complexes2. The size and complexity of the axoneme has so far prevented the development of an atomic model, hindering efforts to understand how it functions. Here we capitalize on recent developments in artificial intelligence-enabled structure prediction and cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) to determine the structure of the 96-nm modular repeats of axonemes from the flagella of the alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii and human respiratory cilia. Our atomic models provide insights into the conservation and specialization of axonemes, the interconnectivity between dyneins and their regulators, and the mechanisms that maintain axonemal periodicity. Correlated conformational changes in mechanoregulatory complexes with their associated axonemal dynein motors provide a mechanism for the long-hypothesized mechanotransduction pathway to regulate ciliary motility. Structures of respiratory-cilia doublet microtubules from four individuals with PCD reveal how the loss of individual docking factors can selectively eradicate periodically repeating structures.

Type: Article
Title: Axonemal structures reveal mechanoregulatory and disease mechanisms
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/s41586-023-06140-2
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-023-06140-2
Language: English
Additional information: © The Author(s). This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Keywords: Cilia, Cryoelectron microscopy, Dynein, Infertility, Respiratory tract diseases
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Institute of Ophthalmology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10171196
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