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Basal body proteins regulate Notch signaling through endosomal trafficking
Carmen C. Leitch, Sukanya Lodh, Victoria Prieto-Echagüe, Jose L. Badano, Norann A. Zaghloul


Proteins associated with primary cilia and basal bodies mediate numerous signaling pathways, but little is known about their role in Notch signaling. Here, we report that loss of the Bardet-Biedl syndrome proteins BBS1 or BBS4 produces increased Notch-directed transcription in a zebrafish reporter line and in human cell lines. Pathway overactivation is accompanied by reduced localization of Notch receptor at both the plasma membrane and the cilium. In Drosophila mutants, overactivation of Notch can result from receptor accumulation in endosomes, and recent studies implicate ciliary proteins in endosomal trafficking, suggesting a possible mechanism by which overactivation occurs in BBS mutants. Consistent with this, we observe genetic interaction of BBS1 and BBS4 with the endosomal sorting complexes required for transport (ESCRT) gene TSG101 and accumulation of receptor in late endosomes, reduced endosomal recycling and reduced receptor degradation in lysosomes. We observe similar defects with disruption of BBS3. Loss of another basal body protein, ALMS1, also enhances Notch activation and the accumulation of receptor in late endosomes, but does not disrupt recycling. These findings suggest a role for these proteins in the regulation of Notch through endosomal trafficking of the receptor.


  • Competing interests

    The authors declare no competing interests.

  • Author contributions

    C.C.L., S.L., V.P.E. carried out all experiments and analyzed data. S.L. created the model. J.L.B. and N.A.Z. conceived of experiments and analyzed data. N.A.Z. wrote the paper.

  • Funding

    This work was funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases) [grant number K01DK092402 to N.A.Z.]; a grant from the Programa de Desarrollo de las Ciencias Básicas to J.L.B.; and by a grant from the Agencia Nacional de Investigación e Innovación, Uruguay to J.L.B. Deposited in PMC for release after 12 months.

  • Supplementary material available online at

  • Received March 4, 2013.
  • Accepted March 17, 2014.
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