Document Type


Date of Degree

Summer 2017

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In


First Advisor

Slusarski, Diane C.

First Committee Member

Sheffield, Val C.

Second Committee Member

Houston, Douglas W.

Third Committee Member

Phillips, Bryan T.

Fourth Committee Member

Weiner, Josuha A.


Mutations in BBS6 cause two clinically distinct syndromes, Bardet-Biedl syndrome (BBS), a syndrome caused by defects in cilia transport and function, as well as McKusick-Kaufman syndrome, a genetic disorder characterized by congenital heart defects. Congenital heart defects are rare in BBS, and McKusick-Kaufman syndrome patients do not develop retinitis pigmentosa. Therefore, the McKusick-Kaufman syndrome allele may highlight cellular functions of BBS6 distinct from the presently understood functions in the cilia. In support, we find that the McKusick-Kaufman syndrome disease-associated allele, BBS6H84Y; A242S, maintains cilia function. We demonstrate that BBS6 is actively transported between the cytoplasm and nucleus, and that BBS6H84Y; A242S, is defective in this transport. We developed a transgenic zebrafish with inducible bbs6 to identify novel binding partners of BBS6, and we find interaction with the SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling protein Smarcc1a (SMARCC1 in humans). We demonstrate that through this interaction, BBS6 modulates the sub-cellular localization of SMARCC1 and find, by transcriptional profiling, similar transcriptional changes following smarcc1a and bbs6 manipulation. Our work identifies a new function for BBS6 in nuclear-cytoplasmic transport, and provides insight into the disease mechanism underlying the congenital heart defects in McKusick-Kaufman syndrome patients.


bardet-biedl, cilia, heart, zebrafish


xii, 129 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 103-114).


Copyright © 2017 Charles Anthony Scott

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