Dyneins are multisubunit protein complexes that couple ATPase activity with conformational changes. They are involved in the cytoplasmatic movement of organelles (cytoplasmic dyneins) and the bending of cilia and flagella (axonemal dyneins). Here we present the first complete cDNA and genomic sequences of a human axonemal dynein beta heavy chain gene, DNAH9, which maps to 17p12. The 14-kb-long cDNA is divided into 69 exons spread over 390 kb. The cDNA sequence of DNAH9 was determined using a combination of methods including 5′ rapid amplification of cDNA ends, RT-PCR, and cDNA library screening. RT-PCR using nasal epithelium and testis RNA revealed several alternatively spliced transcripts. The genomic structure was determined using three overlapping BACs sequenced by the Whitehead Institute/MIT Center for Genome Research. The predicted protein, of 4486 amino acids, is highly homologous to sea urchin axonemal beta heavy chain dyneins (67% identity). It consists of an N-terminal stem and a globular C-terminus containing the four P-loops that constitute the motor domain. Lack of proper ciliary and flagellar movement characterizes primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD), a genetically heterogeneous autosomal recessive disorder with respiratory tract infections, bronchiectasis, male subfertility, and, in 50% of cases, situs inversus (Kartagener syndrome, KS). Dyneins are excellent candidate genes for PCD and KS because in over 50% of cases the ultrastructural defects of cilia are related to the dynein complex. Genotype analysis was performed in 31 PCD families with two or more affected siblings using a highly informative dinucleotide polymorphism located in intron 26 of DNAH9. Two families with concordant inheritance of DNAH9 alleles in affected individuals were observed. A mutation search was performed in these two "candidate families," but only polymorphic variants were found. In the absence of pathogenic mutations, the DNAH9 gene has been excluded as being responsible for autosomal recessive PCD in these families.
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