The Emerging Roles of Axonemal Glutamylation in Regulation of Cilia Architecture and Functions

Wen Ting Yang, Shi Rong Hong, Kai He, Kun Ling, Kritika Shaiv, Jing Hua Hu, Yu Chun Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Cilia, which either generate coordinated motion or sense environmental cues and transmit corresponding signals to the cell body, are highly conserved hair-like structures that protrude from the cell surface among diverse species. Disruption of ciliary functions leads to numerous human disorders, collectively referred to as ciliopathies. Cilia are mechanically supported by axonemes, which are composed of microtubule doublets. It has been recognized for several decades that tubulins in axonemes undergo glutamylation, a post-translational polymodification, that conjugates glutamic acid chains onto the C-terminal tail of tubulins. However, the physiological roles of axonemal glutamylation were not uncovered until recently. This review will focus on how cells modulate glutamylation on ciliary axonemes and how axonemal glutamylation regulates cilia architecture and functions, as well as its physiological importance in human health. We will also discuss the conventional and emerging new strategies used to manipulate glutamylation in cilia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number622302
JournalFrontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology
StatePublished - Mar 4 2021


  • chemically inducible dimerization
  • ciliopathies
  • motile cilia
  • primary cilia
  • tubulin glutamylation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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