Cilia-organizing basal bodies (BBs) are microtubule scaffolds that are visibly asymmetrical because they have attached auxiliary structures, such as striated fibers. In multiciliated cells, BB orientation aligns to ensure coherent ciliary beating, but the mechanisms that maintain BB orientation are unclear. For the first time in Tetrahymena thermophila, we use comparative whole-genome sequencing to identify the mutation in the BB disorientation mutant disA-1. disA-1 abolishes the localization of the novel protein DisAp to T. thermophila striated fibers (kinetodesmal fibers; KFs), which is consistent with DisAp's similarity to the striated fiber protein SF-assemblin. We demonstrate that DisAp is required for KFs to elongate and to resist BB disorientation in response to ciliary forces. Newly formed BBs move along KFs as they approach their cortical attachment sites. However, because they contain short KFs that are rotated, BBs in disA-1 cells display aberrant spacing and disorientation. Therefore, DisAp is a novel KF component that is essential for force-dependent KF elongation and BB orientation in multiciliary arrays.
© 2014 Galati et al.