Super-Resolution Imaging Reveals TCTN2 Depletion-Induced IFT88 Lumen Leakage and Ciliary Weakening

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The primary cilium is an essential organelle mediating key signaling activities, such as sonic hedgehog signaling. The molecular composition of the ciliary compartment is distinct from that of the cytosol, with the transition zone (TZ) gated the ciliary base. The TZ is a packed and organized protein complex containing multiple ciliopathy-associated protein species. Tectonic 2 (TCTN2) is one of the TZ proteins in the vicinity of the ciliary membrane, and its mutation is associated with Meckel syndrome. Despite its importance in ciliopathies, the role of TCTN2 in ciliary structure and molecules remains unclear. Here, we created a CRISPR/Cas9 TCTN2 knockout human retinal pigment epithelial cell line and conducted quantitative analysis of geometric localization using both wide-field and super-resolution microscopy techniques. We found that TCTN2 depletion resulted in partial TZ damage, loss of ciliary membrane proteins, leakage of intraflagellar transport protein IFT88 toward the basal body lumen, and cilium shortening and curving. The basal body lumen occupancy of IFT88 was also observed in si-RPGRIP1L cells and cytochalasin-D-treated wild-type cells, suggesting varying lumen accessibility for intraflagellar transport proteins under different perturbed conditions. Our findings support two possible models for the lumen leakage of IFT88, i.e., a tip leakage model and a misregulation model. Together, our quantitative image analysis augmented by super-resolution microscopy facilitates the observation of structural destruction and molecular redistribution in TCTN2−/− cilia, shedding light on mechanistic understanding of TZ-protein-associated ciliopathies.




Weng, R. R., Yang, T. T., Huang, C. E., Chang, C. W., Wang, W. J., & Liao, J. C. (2018). Super-Resolution Imaging Reveals TCTN2 Depletion-Induced IFT88 Lumen Leakage and Ciliary Weakening. Biophysical Journal, 115(2), 263–275.

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