The Drosophila orthologue of the primary ciliary dyskinesia-associated gene, DNAAF3, is required for axonemal dynein assembly
Ciliary motility is powered by a suite of highly conserved axoneme-specific dynein motor complexes. In humans the impairment of these motors through mutation results in the disease, Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia (PCD). Studies in Drosophila have helped to validate several PCD genes whose products are required for cytoplasmic pre-assembly of axonemal dynein motors. Here we report the characterisation of the Drosophila homologue of the less known assembly factor, DNAAF3. This gene, CG17669 (Dnaaf3), is expressed exclusively in developing mechanosensory chordotonal (Ch) neurons and spermatocytes, the only two Drosophila cell types bearing motile cilia/flagella. Mutation of Dnaaf3 results in larvae that are deaf and adults that are uncoordinated, indicating defective Ch neuron function. The mutant Ch neuron cilia of the antenna specifically lack dynein arms, while Ca imaging in larvae reveals a complete loss of Ch neuron response to vibration stimulus, confirming that mechanotransduction relies on ciliary dynein motors. Mutant males are infertile with immotile sperm whose flagella lack dynein arms and show axoneme disruption. Analysis of proteomic changes suggest a reduction in heavy chains of all axonemal dynein forms, consistent with an impairment of dynein pre-assembly.
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