Research Mentor Name

Zhibing Zhang

Research Mentor Email Address

Institution / Department

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, USA

Document Type

Research Abstract

Research Type


Level of Research



Cilia are microtubular structures present on most mammalian cells, which can be categorized into motile cilia and primary cilia (non-motile cilia). The axoneme of both cilia types possess intraflagellar transport (IFT) machinery, composed of unique protein complexes that travel in opposite directions along the microtubules. Although the role of IFT in primary cilia formation has been well studied, little is known about its role in mammalian motile cilia assembly. IFT20 is a component of IFT-B complex. We generated conditional Ift20 knockout mice by crossing floxed Ift20 mice with the Foxj1-Cre transgenic mouse line to specifically delete Ift20 from motile cilia. No difference was found in mice of all genotypes within one week after birth. However, most homozygous mutant mice presented smaller in size one week after birth, but all mice returned to normal size about 4 weeks after birth. No gross hydrocephalus was found in all the mutant mice. Analysis of a 6-week-old homozygous mutant male revealed no sperm in the cauda epididymis. Testis weight and testis/body weight was normal. However, several spermatogenesis defects were present in the testis seminiferous tubules. Given that motile cilia are also present in the epithelial cells in the brain ventricle, tracheal, efferent ductules and oviduct epithelial cells, cilia in these cells will be further examined in the homozygous mutant mice. Immunofluorescence staining using specific antibodies will be conducted; Cilia length and beat frequency (CBF) will be analyzed. TEM and SEM will be conducted to examine cilia ultrastructure. Fertility of males and females will be tested. We propose that IFT20 plays a role in motile cilia assembly and function.


Medicine and Health Sciences