Inner lumen proteins stabilize doublet microtubules in cilia and flagella

Nat Commun. 2019 Mar 8;10(1):1143. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-09051-x.


Motile cilia are microtubule-based organelles that play important roles in most eukaryotes. Although axonemal microtubules are sufficiently stable to withstand their beating motion, it remains unknown how they are stabilized while serving as tracks for axonemal dyneins. To address this question, we have identified two uncharacterized proteins, FAP45 and FAP52, as microtubule inner proteins (MIPs) in Chlamydomonas. These proteins are conserved among eukaryotes with motile cilia. Using cryo-electron tomography (cryo-ET) and high-speed atomic force microscopy (HS-AFM), we show that lack of these proteins leads to a loss of inner protrusions in B-tubules and less stable microtubules. These protrusions are located near the inner junctions of doublet microtubules and lack of both FAP52 and a known inner junction protein FAP20 results in detachment of the B-tubule from the A-tubule, as well as flagellar shortening. These results demonstrate that FAP45 and FAP52 bind to the inside of microtubules and stabilize ciliary axonemes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Algal Proteins / chemistry*
  • Algal Proteins / genetics
  • Algal Proteins / metabolism
  • Axonemal Dyneins / chemistry
  • Axonemal Dyneins / genetics
  • Axonemal Dyneins / metabolism
  • Axoneme / genetics
  • Axoneme / metabolism*
  • Axoneme / ultrastructure
  • Chlamydomonas reinhardtii / genetics
  • Chlamydomonas reinhardtii / metabolism*
  • Chlamydomonas reinhardtii / ultrastructure
  • Cilia / genetics
  • Cilia / metabolism*
  • Cilia / ultrastructure
  • Cryoelectron Microscopy
  • Electron Microscope Tomography
  • Flagella / genetics
  • Flagella / metabolism*
  • Flagella / ultrastructure
  • Gene Expression
  • Microscopy, Atomic Force


  • Algal Proteins
  • Axonemal Dyneins