The primary cilium is a microtubule-based organelle that serves as a hub for many signaling pathways. It functions as part of the centrosome or cilium complex, which also contains the basal body and the centriolar satellites. Little is known about the mechanisms by which the microtubule-based ciliary axoneme is assembled with a proper length and structure, particularly in terms of the activity of microtubule-associated proteins (MAPs) and the crosstalk between the different compartments of the centrosome or cilium complex. Here, we analyzed CCDC66, a MAP implicated in cilium biogenesis and ciliopathies. Live-cell imaging revealed that CCDC66 compartmentalizes between centrosomes, centriolar satellites, and the ciliary axoneme and tip during cilium biogenesis. CCDC66 depletion in human cells causes defects in cilium assembly, length and morphology. Notably, CCDC66 interacts with the ciliopathy-linked MAPs CEP104 and CSPP1, and regulates axonemal length and Hedgehog pathway activation. Moreover, CCDC66 is required for the basal body recruitment of transition zone proteins and intraflagellar transport B (IFT-B) machinery. Overall, our results establish CCDC66 as a multifaceted regulator of the primary cilium and provide insight into how ciliary MAPs and subcompartments cooperate to ensure assembly of functional cilia.

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