Microtubule glycylation promotes attachment of basal bodies to the cell cortex

Anthony D. Junker, Adam W.J. Soh, Eileen T. O'Toole, Janet B. Meehl, Mayukh Guha, Mark Winey, Jerry E. Honts, Jacek Gaertig, Chad G. Pearson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Motile cilia generate directed hydrodynamic flow that is important for the motility of cells and extracellular fluids. To optimize directed hydrodynamic flow, motile cilia are organized and oriented into a polarized array. Basal bodies (BBs) nucleate and position motile cilia at the cell cortex. Cytoplasmic BB-associated microtubules are conserved structures that extend from BBs. By using the ciliate, Tetrahymena thermophila, combined with EM-tomography and light microscopy, we show that BB-appendage microtubules assemble coincidently with new BB assembly and that they are attached to the cell cortex. These BB-appendage microtubules are specifically marked by post translational modifications of tubulin, including glycylation. Mutations that prevent glycylation shorten BB-appendage microtubules and disrupt BB positioning and cortical attachment. Consistent with the attachment of BB-appendage microtubules to the cell cortex to position BBs, mutations that disrupt the cellular cortical cytoskeleton disrupt the cortical attachment and positioning of BBs. In summary, BB-appendage microtubules promote the organization of ciliary arrays through attachment to the cell cortex.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of cell science
Issue number15
StatePublished - Aug 7 2019


  • Basal bodies
  • Cilia
  • Ciliary array
  • Microtubule
  • Multiciliated cells
  • Tubulin post-translational modifications

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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