Spinocerebellar ataxia type 11-associated alleles of Ttbk2 dominantly interfere with ciliogenesis and cilium stability.
Spinocerebellar ataxia type 11 (SCA11) is a rare, dominantly inherited human ataxia characterized by atrophy of Purkinje neurons in the cerebellum. SCA11 is caused by mutations in the gene encoding the Serine/Threonine kinase Tau tubulin kinase 2 (TTBK2) that result in premature truncations of the protein. We previously showed that TTBK2 is a key regulator of the assembly of primary cilia in vivo. However, the mechanisms by which the SCA11-associated mutations disrupt TTBK2 function, and whether they interfere with ciliogenesis were unknown. In this work, we present evidence that SCA11-associated mutations are dominant negative alleles and that the resulting truncated protein (TTBK2SCA11) interferes with the function of full length TTBK2 in mediating ciliogenesis. A Ttbk2 allelic series revealed that upon partial reduction of full length TTBK2 function, TTBK2SCA11 can interfere with the activity of the residual wild-type protein to decrease cilia number and interrupt cilia-dependent Sonic hedgehog (SHH) signaling. Our studies have also revealed new functions for TTBK2 after cilia initiation in the control of cilia length, trafficking of a subset of SHH pathway components, including Smoothened (SMO), and cilia stability. These studies provide a molecular foundation to understand the cellular and molecular pathogenesis of human SCA11, and help account for the link between ciliary dysfunction and neurodegenerative diseases.
Bowie, E; Norris, R; Anderson, KV; Goetz, SC
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