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Mohamed, Mohamed A. A.; Stepp, Willi L. and Ökten, Zeynep (2018): Reconstitution reveals motor activation for intraflagellar transport. In: Nature, Vol. 557, No. 7705: pp. 387-391

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The human body represents a notable example of ciliary diversification. Extending from the surface of most cells, cilia accomplish a diverse set of tasks. Predictably, mutations in ciliary genes cause a wide range of human diseases such as male infertility and blindness. In Caenorhabditis elegans sensory cilia, this functional diversity appears to be traceable to the differential regulation of the kinesin-2-powered intraflagellar-transport (IFT) machinery. Here we reconstituted the first, to our knowledge, functional multi-component IFT complex that is deployed in the sensory cilia of C. elegans. Our bottom-up approach revealed the molecular basis of specific motor recruitment to the IFT trains. We identified the key component that incorporates homodimeric kinesin-2 into its physiologically relevant context, which in turn allosterically activates the motor for efficient transport. These results will enable the molecular delineation of IFT regulation, which has eluded understanding since its discovery more than two decades ago.

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