Nature communications

ERK7 regulates ciliogenesis by phosphorylating the actin regulator CapZIP in cooperation with Dishevelled.

PMID 25823377


Cilia are essential for embryogenesis and maintenance of homeostasis, but little is known about the signalling pathways that regulate ciliogenesis. Here, we identify ERK7, an atypical mitogen-activated protein kinase, as a key regulator of ciliogenesis. ERK7 is strongly expressed in ciliated tissues of Xenopus embryos. ERK7 knockdown markedly diminishes both the number and the length of cilia in multiciliated cells, and it inhibits the apical migration of basal bodies. Moreover, ERK7 knockdown results in a loss of the apical actin meshwork, which is required for the proper migration of basal bodies. We find that the actin regulator CapZIP, which has been shown to regulate ciliogenesis in a phosphorylation-dependent manner, is an ERK7 substrate, and that Dishevelled, which has also been shown to regulate ciliogenesis, facilitates ERK7 phosphorylation of CapZIP through binding to both ERK7 and CapZIP. Collectively, these results identify an ERK7/Dishevelled/CapZIP axis that regulates ciliogenesis.