CAMSAP3 facilitates basal body polarity and the formation of the central pair of microtubules in motile cilia

Alan M. Robinson, Satoe Takahashi, Eva J. Brotslaw, Aisha Ahmad, Emma Ferrer, Daniele Procissi, Claus Peter Richter, Mary Ann Cheatham, Brian J. Mitchell, Jing Zheng*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Synchronized beating of cilia on multiciliated cells (MCCs) generates a directional flow of mucus across epithelia. This motility requires a "9 + 2" microtubule (MT) configuration in axonemes and the unidirectional array of basal bodies of cilia on the MCCs. However, it is not fully understood what components are needed for central MT-pair assembly as they are not continuous with basal bodies in contrast to the nine outer MT doublets. In this study, we discovered that a homozygous knockdown mouse model for MT minus-end regulator calmodulin-regulated spectrin-associated protein 3 (CAMSAP3), Camsap3tm1a/tm1a, exhibited multiple phenotypes, some of which are typical of primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD), a condition caused by motile cilia defects. Anatomical examination of Camsap3tm1a/tm1a mice revealed severe nasal airway blockage and abnormal ciliary morphologies in nasal MCCs. MCCs from different tissues exhibited defective synchronized beating and ineffective generation of directional flow likely underlying the PCD-like phenotypes. In normal mice, CAMSAP3 localized to the base of axonemes and at the basal bodies in MCCs. However, in Camsap3tm1a/tm1a, MCCs lacked CAMSAP3 at the ciliary base. Importantly, the central MT pairs were missing in the majority of cilia, and the polarity of the basal bodies was disorganized. These phenotypes were further confirmed in MCCs of Xenopus embryos when CAMSAP3 expression was knocked down by morpholino injection. Taken together, we identified CAMSAP3 as being important for the formation of central MT pairs, proper orientation of basal bodies, and synchronized beating of motile cilia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13571-13579
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number24
StatePublished - Jun 16 2020


  • Basal body orientation
  • Central MT pair
  • Motile cilia
  • Primary ciliary dyskinesia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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