The ciliopathies are a group of related inherited diseases characterized by malformations in organ development. The diseases affect multiple organ systems, with kidney, skeleton, and brain malformations frequently observed. Research over the last decade has revealed that these diseases are due to defects in primary cilia, essential sensory organelles found on most cells in the human body. Here we discuss the genetic and cell biological basis of one of the most severe ciliopathies, Meckel-Gruber syndrome, and explain how primary cilia contribute to the development of the affected organ systems.
Keywords: Hedgehog; Joubert syndrome; Meckel-Gruber syndrome; Wnt; brain; cilia; ciliopathy; kidney; nephronophthisis; signalling; skeleton.