Coordinated beating of cilia in the trachea generates a directional flow of mucus required to clear the airways. Each cilium originates from a barrel-shaped basal body, from the side of which protrudes a structure known as the basal foot. We generated mice in which exons 6 and 7 of Odf2, encoding a basal body and centrosome-associated protein Odf2/cenexin, are disrupted. Although Odf2(ΔEx6,7/ΔEx6,7) mice form cilia, ciliary beating is uncoordinated, and the mice display a coughing/sneezing phenotype. Whereas residual expression of the C-terminal region of Odf2 in these mice is sufficient for ciliogenesis, the resulting basal bodies lack basal feet. Loss of basal feet in ciliated epithelia disrupted the polarized organization of apical microtubule lattice without affecting planar cell polarity. The requirement for Odf2 in basal foot formation, therefore, reveals a crucial role of this structure in the polarized alignment of basal bodies and coordinated ciliary beating.
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