The main force generators in eukaryotic cilia and flagella are axonemal outer dynein arms (ODAs). During cilio-genesis, these ∼1.8 MDa complexes are assembled in the cytoplasm and targeted to cilia via an unknown mechanism. Here we use the ciliate Tetrahymena to identify two novel factors (Q22YU3 and Q22MS1) which bind ODAs in the cytoplasm and are required for their delivery to cilia. We show that Q22YU3, which we name Shulin, locks the ODA motor domains into a closed conformation and inhibits motor activity. Cryo-EM reveals how Shulin stabilizes this compact form of ODAs by binding to the dynein tails. Our findings provide a molecular explanation for how newly assembled dyneins are packaged for delivery to the cilia. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.
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