Human genomics is identifying candidate genes for congenital heart disease (CHD), but discovering the underlying mechanisms remains challenging. In a patient with CHD and heterotaxy (Htx), a disorder of left-right patterning, we previously identified a duplication in Nup188. However, a mechanism to explain how a component of the nuclear pore complex (NPC) could cause Htx/CHD was undefined. Here, we show that knockdown of Nup188 or its binding partner Nup93 leads to a loss of cilia during embryonic development while leaving NPC function largely intact. Many data, including the localization of endogenous Nup188/93 at cilia bases, support their direct role at cilia. Super-resolution imaging of Nup188 shows two barrel-like structures with dimensions and organization incompatible with an NPC-like ring, arguing against a proposed “ciliary pore complex.” We suggest that the nanoscale organization and function of nucleoporins are context dependent in a way that is required for the structure of the heart.
del Viso, F., Huang, F., Myers, J., Chalfant, M., Zhang, Y., Reza, N., … Khokha, M. K. (2016). Congenital Heart Disease Genetics Uncovers Context-Dependent Organization and Function of Nucleoporins at Cilia. Developmental Cell, 38(5), 478–492. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.devcel.2016.08.002