The Hedgehog (Hh) signaling pathway plays a key role in cell fate specification, proliferation, and survival during mammalian development. Cells require a small organelle, the primary cilium, to respond properly to Hh signals and the key regulators of Hh signal transduction exhibit dynamic localization to this organelle when the pathway is activated. Here, we investigate the role of Cell Cycle Related kinase (CCRK) in regulation of cilium-dependent Hh signaling in the mouse. Mice mutant for Ccrk exhibit a variety of developmental defects indicative of inappropriate regulation of this pathway. Cell biological, biochemical and genetic analyses indicate that CCRK is required to control the Hedgehog pathway at the level or downstream of Smoothened and upstream of the Gli transcription factors, Gli2 and Gli3. In vitro experiments indicate that Ccrk mutant cells show a greater deficit in response to signaling over long time periods than over short ones. Similar to Chlamydomonas mutants lacking the CCRK homolog, LF2, mouse Ccrk mutant cells show defective regulation of ciliary length and morphology. Ccrk mutant cells exhibit defects in intraflagellar transport (the transport mechanism used to assemble cilia), as well as slowed kinetics of ciliary enrichment of key Hh pathway regulators. Collectively, the data suggest that CCRK positively regulates the kinetics by which ciliary proteins such as Smoothened and Gli2 are imported into the cilium, and that the efficiency of ciliary recruitment allows for potent responses to Hedgehog signaling over long time periods.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Molecular Biology
- Cancer Research