A mutation in Ccdc39 causes neonatal hydrocephalus with abnormal motile cilia development in mice

Development. 2018 Jan 9;145(1):dev154500. doi: 10.1242/dev.154500.


Pediatric hydrocephalus is characterized by an abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and is one of the most common congenital brain abnormalities. However, little is known about the molecular and cellular mechanisms regulating CSF flow in the developing brain. Through whole-genome sequencing analysis, we report that a homozygous splice site mutation in coiled-coil domain containing 39 (Ccdc39) is responsible for early postnatal hydrocephalus in the progressive hydrocephalus (prh) mouse mutant. Ccdc39 is selectively expressed in embryonic choroid plexus and ependymal cells on the medial wall of the forebrain ventricle, and the protein is localized to the axoneme of motile cilia. The Ccdc39prh/prh ependymal cells develop shorter cilia with disorganized microtubules lacking the axonemal inner arm dynein. Using high-speed video microscopy, we show that an orchestrated ependymal ciliary beating pattern controls unidirectional CSF flow on the ventricular surface, which generates bulk CSF flow in the developing brain. Collectively, our data provide the first evidence for involvement of Ccdc39 in hydrocephalus and suggest that the proper development of medial wall ependymal cilia is crucial for normal mouse brain development.

Keywords: Brain development; Cerebrospinal fluid; Cilia; Ependymal cells; Hydrocephalus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Choroid Plexus* / embryology
  • Choroid Plexus* / pathology
  • Cilia / genetics
  • Cilia / metabolism
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins* / genetics
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins* / metabolism
  • Ependyma* / embryology
  • Ependyma* / pathology
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Hydrocephalus* / embryology
  • Hydrocephalus* / genetics
  • Hydrocephalus* / pathology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Mutant Strains


  • Cytoskeletal Proteins