Cilia interactome with predicted protein-protein interactions reveals connections to Alzheimer's disease, aging and other neuropsychiatric processes

Sci Rep. 2020 Sep 24;10(1):15629. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-72024-4.


Cilia are dynamic microtubule-based organelles present on the surface of many eukaryotic cell types and can be motile or non-motile primary cilia. Cilia defects underlie a growing list of human disorders, collectively called ciliopathies, with overlapping phenotypes such as developmental delays and cognitive and memory deficits. Consistent with this, cilia play an important role in brain development, particularly in neurogenesis and neuronal migration. These findings suggest that a deeper systems-level understanding of how ciliary proteins function together may provide new mechanistic insights into the molecular etiologies of nervous system defects. Towards this end, we performed a protein-protein interaction (PPI) network analysis of known intraflagellar transport, BBSome, transition zone, ciliary membrane and motile cilia proteins. Known PPIs of ciliary proteins were assembled from online databases. Novel PPIs were predicted for each ciliary protein using a computational method we developed, called High-precision PPI Prediction (HiPPIP) model. The resulting cilia "interactome" consists of 165 ciliary proteins, 1,011 known PPIs, and 765 novel PPIs. The cilia interactome revealed interconnections between ciliary proteins, and their relation to several pathways related to neuropsychiatric processes, and to drug targets. Approximately 184 genes in the cilia interactome are targeted by 548 currently approved drugs, of which 103 are used to treat various diseases of nervous system origin. Taken together, the cilia interactome presented here provides novel insights into the relationship between ciliary protein dysfunction and neuropsychiatric disorders, for e.g. interconnections of Alzheimer's disease, aging and cilia genes. These results provide the framework for the rational design of new therapeutic agents for treatment of ciliopathies and neuropsychiatric disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology*
  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology*
  • Cilia / metabolism*
  • Cilia / pathology*
  • Ciliopathies / metabolism
  • Ciliopathies / pathology*
  • Computational Biology
  • Humans
  • Nervous System Diseases / metabolism
  • Nervous System Diseases / pathology*
  • Protein Interaction Maps*
  • Protein Transport