Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 30940671
EMBO J. 2019 Apr;
Intraflagellar transport (IFT) relies on motor proteins and the IFT complex to construct cilia and flagella. The IFT complex subunit IFT22/RabL5 has sequence similarity with small GTPases although the nucleotide specificity is unclear because of non-conserved G4/G5 motifs. We show that IFT22 specifically associates with G-nucleotides and present crystal structures of IFT22 in complex with GDP, GTP, and with IFT74/81. Our structural analysis unravels an unusual GTP/GDP-binding mode of IFT22 bypassing the classical G4 motif. The GTPase switch regions of IFT22 become ordered upon complex formation with IFT74/81 and mediate most of the IFT22-74/81 interactions. Structure-based mutagenesis reveals that association of IFT22 with the IFT complex is essential for flagellum construction in although IFT22 GTP-loading is not strictly required.