Background: Intraflagellar transport (IFT) is the bidirectional movement of IFT particles between the cell body and the distal tip of a flagellum. Organized into complexes A and B, IFT particles are composed of at least 18 proteins. The function of IFT proteins in flagellar assembly has been extensively investigated. However, much less is known about the molecular mechanism of how IFT is regulated.
Methodology/principal findings: We herein report the identification of a novel IFT particle protein, IFT25, in Chlamydomonas. Dephosphorylation assay revealed that IFT25 is a phosphoprotein. Biochemical analysis of temperature sensitive IFT mutants indicated that IFT25 is an IFT complex B subunit. In vitro binding assay confirmed that IFT25 binds to IFT27, a Rab-like small GTPase component of the IFT complex B. Immunofluorescence staining showed that IFT25 has a punctuate flagellar distribution as expected for an IFT protein, but displays a unique distribution pattern at the flagellar base. IFT25 co-localizes with IFT27 at the distal-most portion of basal bodies, probably the transition zones, and concentrates in the basal body region by partially overlapping with other IFT complex B subunits, such as IFT46. Sucrose density gradient centrifugation analysis demonstrated that, in flagella, the majority of IFT27 and IFT25 including both phosphorylated and non-phosphorylated forms are cosedimented with other complex B subunits in the 16S fractions. In contrast, in cell body, only a fraction of IFT25 and IFT27 is integrated into the preassembled complex B, and IFT25 detected in complex B is preferentially phosphorylated.
Conclusion/significance: IFT25 is a phosphoprotein component of IFT particle complex B. IFT25 directly interacts with IFT27, and these two proteins likely form a subcomplex in vivo. We postulate that the association and disassociation between the subcomplex of IFT25 and IFT27 and complex B might be involved in the regulation of IFT.