Cluap1/IFT38 is a ciliary protein that belongs to the IFT-B complex and is required for ciliogenesis. In this study, we have examined the behaviors of Cluap1 protein in nonciliated and ciliated cells. In proliferating cells, Cluap1 is located at the distal appendage of the mother centriole. When cells are induced to form cilia, Cluap1 is found in a novel noncentriolar compartment, the cytoplasmic IFT spot, which mainly exists once in a cell. Other IFT-B proteins such as IFT46 and IFT88 are colocalized in this spot. The cytoplasmic IFT spot is present in mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) but is absent in ciliogenesis-defective MEFs lacking Cluap1, Kif3a or Odf2. The cytoplasmic IFT spot is also found in mouse embryos but is absent in the Cluap1 mutant embryo. When MEFs are induced to form cilia, the cytoplasmic IFT spot appears at an early step of ciliogenesis but starts to disappear when ciliogenesis is mostly completed. These results suggest that IFT-B proteins such as Cluap1 accumulate in a previously undescribed cytoplasmic compartment during ciliogenesis.
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