Bardet-Biedl syndrome is a model ciliopathy. Although the characterization of BBS proteins has evidenced their involvement in cilia, extraciliary functions for some of these proteins are also being recognized. Importantly, understanding both cilia and cilia-independent functions of the BBS proteins is key to fully dissect the cellular basis of the syndrome. Here we characterize a functional interaction between BBS4 and the secreted protein FSTL1, a protein linked to adipogenesis and inflammation among other functions. We show that BBS4 and cilia regulate FSTL1 mRNA levels, but BBS4 also modulates FSTL1 secretion. Moreover, we show that FSTL1 is a novel regulator of ciliogenesis thus underscoring a regulatory loop between FSTL1 and cilia. Finally, our data indicate that BBS4, cilia and FSTL1 are coordinated during the differentiation of 3T3-L1 cells and that FSTL1 plays a role in this process, at least in part, by modulating ciliogenesis. Therefore, our findings are relevant to fully understand the development of BBS-associated phenotypes such as obesity.
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