Primary cilium remodelling mediates a cell signalling switch in differentiating neurons

Gabriela Toro-Tapia, Raman Das

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cellular differentiation leads to formation of specialised cell types and complex morphological variations. Often, differentiating cells transition states by switching how they respond to the signalling environment. However, the mechanisms regulating these transitions are poorly understood. Differentiating neurons delaminate from the neuroepithelium through the regulated process of apical abscission, which mediates an acute loss of polarity and primary cilium dis-assembly. Using high-resolution live-cell imaging in chick neural tube, we show that these cells retain an Arl13b+ particle which elongates and initiates intraflagellar trafficking (IFT) as it transits towards the cell body, indicating primary cilium remodelling. Strikingly, disrupting cilia during and after remodelling inhibits axon extension and leads to dramatic axon collapse respectively. Furthermore, cilium remodelling corresponds to a switch from a canonical to non-canonical cellular response to Shh. This work transforms our understanding of how cells can rapidly re-interpret signals to produce qualitatively different responses within the same tissue context.
Original languageEnglish
JournalScience Advances
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 20 May 2020


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