Ludovic Jeanson, Lucie Thomas, Bruno Copin, André Coste, Isabelle Sermet-Gaudelus, Florence Dastot-Le Moal, Philippe Duquesnoy, Guy Montantin, Nathalie Collot, Sylvie Tissier, Jean-François Papon, Annick Clement, Bruno Louis, Estelle Escudier, Serge Amsel
Primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD) is an autosomal recessive disease characterized by chronic respiratory infections of the upper and lower airways, hypofertility, and, in approximately half of the cases, situs inversus. This complex phenotype results from defects in motile cilia and sperm flagella. Among the numerous genes involved in PCD, very few —including CCDC39 and CCDC40— carry mutations that lead to a disorganization of ciliary axonemes with microtubule misalignment. Focusing on this particular phenotype, we identified bi-allelic loss-of-function mutations in GAS8, a gene that encodes a subunit of the nexin-dynein regulatory complex (N-DRC) orthologous to DRC4 of the flagellated alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. Unlike the majority of PCD patients, individuals with GAS8mutations have motile cilia, which, as documented by high-speed videomicroscopy, display a subtle beating pattern defect characterized by slightly reduced bending amplitude. Immunofluorescence studies performed on patients’ respiratory cilia revealed that GAS8 is not required for the proper expression of CCDC39 and CCDC40. Rather, mutations in GAS8 affect the subcellular localization of another N-DRC subunit called DRC3. Overall, this study, which identifies GAS8 as a PCD gene, unveils the key importance of the corresponding protein in N-DRC integrity and in the proper alignment of axonemal microtubules in humans.