, Volume 45, Issue 3, pp 564-570
Date: 30 May 2012

Basic Biology and Mechanisms of Neural Ciliogenesis and the B9 Family

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Although the discovery of cilia is one of the earliest in cell biology, the past two decades have witnessed an explosion of new insight into these enigmatic organelles. While long believed to be vestigial, cilia have recently moved into the spotlight as key players in multiple cellular processes, including brain development and homeostasis. This review focuses on the rapidly expanding basic biology of neural cilia, with special emphasis on the newly emerging B9 family of proteins. In particular, recent findings have identified a critical role for the B9 complex in a network of protein interactions that take place at the ciliary transition zone (TZ). We describe the essential role of these protein complexes in signaling cascades that require primary (nonmotile) cilia, including the sonic hedgehog pathway. Loss or dysfunction of ciliary trafficking and TZ function are linked to a number of neurologic diseases, which we propose to classify as neural ciliopathies. When taken together, the studies reviewed herein point to critical roles played by neural cilia, both in normal physiology and in disease.