Joubert syndrome (JBTS) is a recessive neurodevelopmental ciliopathy, characterized by a pathognomonic hindbrain malformation. All known JBTS-genes encode proteins involved in the structure or function of primary cilia, ubiquitous antenna-like organelles essential for cellular signal transduction. Here, we use the recently identified JBTS-associated protein ARMC9 in tandem-affinity purification and yeast two-hybrid screens to identify a novel ciliary module whose dysfunction underlies JBTS. In addition to known JBTS-associated proteins CEP104 and CSPP1, we identify CCDC66 and TOGARAM1 as ARMC9 interaction partners. We show that TOGARAM1 variants cause JBTS and disrupt TOGARAM1 interaction with ARMC9. Using a combination of protein interaction analyses and characterization of patient-derived fibroblasts, CRISPR/Cas9-engineered zebrafish and hTERT-RPE1 cells, we demonstrate that dysfunction of ARMC9 or TOGARAM1 results in short cilia with decreased axonemal acetylation and polyglutamylation, but relatively intact transition zone function. Aberrant cold- and serum-induced ciliary loss in both ARMC9 and TOGARAM1 patient cell lines suggests a role for this new JBTS-associated protein module in ciliary stability.
Brooke L. Latour, Julie C. Van De Weghe, Tamara D.S. Rusterholz, Stef J.F. Letteboer, Arianna Gomez, Ranad Shaheen, Matthias Gesemann, Arezou Karamzade, Mostafa Asadollahi, Miguel Barroso-Gil, Manali Chitre, Megan E. Grout, Jeroen van Reeuwijk, Sylvia E.C. van Beersum, Caitlin V. Miller, Jennifer C. Dempsey, Heba Morsy, Michael J. Bamshad, Deborah A. Nickerson, Stephan C.F. Neuhauss, Karsten Boldt, Marius Ueffing, Mohammad Keramatipour, John A. Sayer, Fowzan S. Alkuraya, Ruxandra Bachmann-Gagescu, Ronald Roepman, Dan Doherty