Multisystem functional characterisation of motile ciliopathy genes HEATR2 and ZMYND10
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Mali, Girish Ram
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Cilia are polarized extensions of the cells microtubule-based cytoskeleton dedicated to sensory, signaling and motility-related functions. In mammals, there are two main types of cilia, immotile and motile, where motile cilia generate/modulate fluid flow at the embryonic node, in respiratory airways, cerebral ventricles and the oviduct in addition to sperm propulsion via the flagellum. Defects in cilia motility cause a rare genetic disorder called Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia (PCD). In this thesis, I present functional and molecular characterisation of two PCD causing genes HEATR2 and ZMYND10. Core cilia genes are transcriptionally activated by members of the winged-helix transcription factors of the RFX family. The forkhead transcription factor FOXJ1, additionally activates motility genes such as the ones encoding components of axonemal dynein motors which transfer the chemical energy released from ATP hydrolysis to kinetic motion necessary for ciliary motility. I present data in this thesis which show that Heatr2 and Zmynd10 are both targets of the RFX3-FOXJ1 transcriptional module which co-operatively switches on genes required to make motile cilia Mutations in both HEATR2 and ZMYND10 cause the same subtype of PCD (loss of inner and outer arm dyneins in cilia). I characterise a human PCD causing mutation in HEATR2 in this thesis. Additionally, using genetic null mouse models generated using the CRISPR technology, I describe the phenotypic effects of complete loss of Zmynd10 in mice. Zmynd10 mutant mice display characteristic PCD-like features. Adding to my functional studies, I present proteomic data to propose mechanisms by which HEATR2 and ZMYND10 proteins control cilia motility. Mass spectrometry and protein interaction studies support distinct roles for HEATR2 and ZMYND10 in intracellular transport and pre-assembly of axonemal dynein motors. The multisystem approaches described in this thesis to characterise the roles of HEATR2 and ZMYND10 highlight the molecular complexity underlying the assembly and delivery of axonemal dyneins to motile cilia and provide novel functional and molecular insights into the pathophysiology of PCD.