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Complex inflammatory signalling cascades define the response to tissue injury but also control development and homeostasis, limiting the potential for these pathways to be targeted therapeutically. Primary cilia are subcellular regulators of cellular signalling, controlling how signalling is organized, encoded and, in some instances, driving or influencing pathogenesis. Our previous research revealed that disruption of ciliary intraflagellar transport (IFT), altered the cell response to IL-1β, supporting a putative link emerging between cilia and inflammation. Here, we show that IFT88 depletion affects specific cytokine-regulated behaviours, changing cytosolic NFκB translocation dynamics but leaving MAPK signalling unaffected. RNA-seq analysis indicates that IFT88 regulates one third of the genome-wide targets, including the pro-inflammatory genes Nos2, Il6 and Tnf Through microscopy, we find altered NFκB dynamics are independent of assembly of a ciliary axoneme. Indeed, depletion of IFT88 inhibits inflammatory responses in the non-ciliated macrophage. We propose that ciliary proteins, including IFT88, KIF3A, TTBK2 and NPHP4, act outside of the ciliary axoneme to tune cytoplasmic NFκB signalling and specify the downstream cell response. This is thus a non-canonical function for ciliary proteins in shaping cellular inflammation.This article has an associated First Person interview with the first author of the paper.

Original publication




Journal article


J Cell Sci

Publication Date





IFT88, Inflammation, Macrophage, NFkB, Primary cilia, TTBK2, Cilia, Flagella, NF-kappa B, Protein Transport, Signal Transduction