Revealing the Molecular Structure and the Transport Mechanism at the Base of Primary Cilia Using Superresolution STED Microscopy

Tung-Lin Yang
The primary cilium is an organelle that serves as a signaling center of the cell and is involved in the hedgehog signaling, cAMP pathway, Wnt pathways, etc. Ciliary function relies on the transportation of molecules between the primary cilium and the cell, which is facilitated by intraflagellar transport (IFT). IFT88, one of the important IFT proteins in complex B, is known to play a role in the formation and maintenance of cilia in various types of organisms. The ciliary transition zone (TZ),
more » ... hich is part of the gating apparatus at the ciliary base, is home to a large number of ciliopathy molecules. Recent studies have identified important regulating elements for TZ gating in cilia. However, the architecture of the TZ region and its arrangement relative to intraflagellar transport (IFT) proteins remain largely unknown, hindering the mechanistic understanding of the regulation processes. One of the major challenges comes from the tiny volume at the ciliary base packed with numerous proteins, with the diameter of the TZ close to the diffraction limit of conventional microscopes. Using a series of stimulated emission depletion (STED) superresolution images mapped to electron microscopy images, we analyzed the structural organization of the ciliary base. Subdiffraction imaging of TZ components defines novel geometric distributions of RPGRIP1L, MKS1, CEP290, TCTN2 and TMEM67, shedding light on their roles in TZ structure, assembly, and function. We found TCTN2 at the outmost periphery of the TZ close to the ciliary membrane, with a 227±18 nm diameter. TMEM67 was adjacent to TCTN2, with a 205±20 nm diameter. RPGRIP1L was localized toward the axoneme at the same axial level as TCTN2 and TMEM67, with a 165±8 nm diameter. MKS1 was situated between TMEM67 and RPGRIP1L, with an 186±21 nm diameter. Surprisingly, CEP290 was localized at the proximal side of the TZ close to the distal end of the centrin-labeled basal body. The lateral width was unexpectedly close to the width of the basal body, distant from the potential Y-l [...]
doi:10.7916/d85d8pts fatcat:mbxb3b77djei3ppocoaxdxuzem