Microtubule-dependent motor, murine KIF3B, was disrupted by gene targeting. The null mutants did not survive beyond midgestation, exhibiting growth retardation, pericardial sac ballooning, and neural tube disorganization. Prominently, the left-right asymmetry was randomized in the heart loop and the direction of embryonic turning. lefty-2 expression was either bilateral or absent. Furthermore, the node lacked monocilia while the basal bodies were present. Immunocytochemistry revealed KIF3B localization in wild-type nodal cilia. Video microscopy showed that these cilia were motile and generated a leftward flow. These data suggest that KIF3B is essential for the left-right determination through intraciliary transportation of materials for ciliogenesis of motile primary cilia that could produce a gradient of putative morphogen along the left-right axis in the node.
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