In humans, ciliary dysfunction causes ciliopathies, which present as multiple organ defects, including developmental and sensory abnormalities. Sdccag8 is a centrosomal/basal body protein essential for proper cilia formation. Gene mutations in SDCCAG8 have been found in patients with ciliopathies manifesting a broad spectrum of symptoms, including hypogonadism. Among these mutations, several that are predicted to truncate the SDCCAG8 carboxyl (C) terminus are also associated with such symptoms; however, the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. In the present study, we identified the Sdccag8 C-terminal region (Sdccag8-C) as a module that interacts with the ciliopathy proteins, Ick/Cilk1 and Mak, which were shown to be essential for the regulation of ciliary protein trafficking and cilia length in mammals in our previous studies. We found that Sdccag8-C is essential for Sdccag8 localization to centrosomes and cilia formation in cultured cells. We then generated a mouse mutant in which Sdccag8-C was truncated (Sdccag8ΔC/ΔC mice) using a CRISPR-mediated stop codon knock-in strategy. In Sdccag8ΔC/ΔC mice, we observed abnormalities in cilia formation and ciliopathy-like organ phenotypes, including cleft palate, polydactyly, retinal degeneration, and cystic kidney, which partially overlapped with those previously observed in Ick- and Mak-deficient mice. Furthermore, Sdccag8ΔC/ΔC mice exhibited a defect in spermatogenesis, which was a previously uncharacterized phenotype of Sdccag8 dysfunction. Together, these results shed light on the molecular and pathological mechanisms underlying ciliopathies observed in patients with SDCCAG8 mutations and may advance our understanding of protein-protein interaction networks involved in cilia development.
Keywords: CRISPR/cas; cilia; intestinal cell kinase/ciliogenesis-associated kinase 1; kidney; male germ cell-associated kinase; mouse; retina; serologically defined colon cancer antigen 8; sonic hedgehog; spermatogenesis.
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