Background: Reversible cell cycle arrest (quiescence/G0) is characteristic of adult stem cells and is actively controlled at multiple levels. Quiescent cells also extend a primary cilium, which functions as a signaling hub. Primary cilia have been shown to be important in multiple developmental processes, and are implicated in numerous developmental disorders. Although the association of the cilium with G0 is established, the role of the cilium in the control of the quiescence program is still poorly understood.
Results: Primary cilia are dynamically regulated across different states of cell cycle exit in skeletal muscle myoblasts: quiescent myoblasts elaborate a primary cilium in vivo and in vitro, but terminally differentiated myofibers do not. Myoblasts where ciliogenesis is ablated using RNAi against a key ciliary assembly protein (IFT88) can exit the cell cycle but display an altered quiescence program and impaired self-renewal. Specifically, the G0 transcriptome in IFT88 knockdown cells is aberrantly enriched for G2/M regulators, suggesting a focused repression of this network by the cilium. Cilium-ablated cells also exhibit features of activation including enhanced activity of Wnt and mitogen signaling and elevated protein synthesis via inactivation of the translational repressor 4E-BP1.
Conclusions: Taken together, our results show that the primary cilium integrates and dampens proliferative signaling, represses translation and G2/M genes, and is integral to the establishment of the quiescence program.
Keywords: G0; Myoblasts; Primary cilium; Quiescence; Signaling.