Article| Volume 25, ISSUE 5, 100798, May 2023

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Pathogenic variants in CLXN encoding the outer dynein arm docking–associated calcium-binding protein calaxin cause primary ciliary dyskinesia

Published:January 30, 2023DOI:



      Primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD) is a heterogeneous disorder that includes respiratory symptoms, laterality defects, and infertility caused by dysfunction of motile cilia. Most PCD-causing variants result in abnormal outer dynein arms (ODAs), which provide the generative force for respiratory ciliary beating and proper mucociliary clearance.


      In addition to studies in mouse and planaria, clinical exome sequencing and functional analyses in human were performed.


      In this study, we identified homozygous pathogenic variants in CLXN (EFCAB1/ODAD5) in 3 individuals with laterality defects and respiratory symptoms. Consistently, we found that Clxn is expressed in mice left-right organizer. Transmission electron microscopy depicted ODA defects in distal ciliary axonemes. Immunofluorescence microscopy revealed absence of CLXN from the ciliary axonemes, absence of the ODA components DNAH5, DNAI1, and DNAI2 from the distal axonemes, and mislocalization or absence of DNAH9. In addition, CLXN was undetectable in ciliary axonemes of individuals with defects in the ODA-docking machinery: ODAD1, ODAD2, ODAD3, and ODAD4. Furthermore, SMED-EFCAB1-deficient planaria displayed ciliary dysmotility.


      Our results revealed that pathogenic variants in CLXN cause PCD with defects in the assembly of distal ODAs in the respiratory cilia. CLXN should be referred to as ODA-docking complex–associated protein ODAD5.


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