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Journal Articles Seminars in Cell and Developmental Biology Year : 2021

Motile cilia and airway disease


A finely regulated system of airway epithelial development governs the differentiation of motile ciliated cells of the human respiratory tract, conferring the body's mucociliary clearance defence system. Human cilia dysfunction can arise through genetic mutations and this is a cause of debilitating disease morbidities that confer a greatly reduced quality of life. The inherited human motile ciliopathy disorder, primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD), can arise from mutations in genes affecting various aspects of motile cilia structure and function through deficient production, transport and assembly of cilia motility components or through defective multiciliogenesis. Our understanding about the development of the respiratory epithelium, motile cilia biology and the implications for human pathology has expanded greatly over the past 20 years since isolation of the first PCD gene, rising to now nearly 50 genes. Systems level insights about cilia motility in health and disease have been made possible through intensive molecular and omics (genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics) research, applied in ciliate organisms and in animal and human disease modelling. Here, we review ciliated airway development and the genetic stratification that underlies PCD, for which the underlying genotype can increasingly be connected to biological mechanism and disease prognostics. Progress in this field can facilitate clinical translation of research advances, with potential for great medical impact, e.g. through improvements in ciliopathy disease diagnosis, management, family counselling and by enhancing the potential for future genetically tailored approaches to disease therapeutics.

Dates and versions

inserm-03780781 , version 1 (19-09-2022)



Marie Legendre, Laure-Emmanuelle Zaragosi, Hannah Mitchison. Motile cilia and airway disease. Seminars in Cell and Developmental Biology, 2021, 110, pp.19-33. ⟨10.1016/j.semcdb.2020.11.007⟩. ⟨inserm-03780781⟩
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