The primary cilium is a sensory organelle that protrudes from the cell surface. Primary cilia undergo dynamic transitions between assembly and disassembly to exert their function in cell signaling. In this study, we identify the small GTPase Rab7 as a novel regulator of cilia disassembly. Depletion of Rab7 potently induced spontaneous ciliogenesis in proliferating cells and promoted cilia elongation during quiescence. Moreover, Rab7 performs an essential role in cilia disassembly; knockdown of Rab7 blocked serum-induced ciliary resorption, and active Rab7 was required for this process. Further, we demonstrate that Rab7 depletion significantly suppresses cilia tip excision, referred to as cilia ectocytosis, which has been identified as required for cilia disassembly. Mechanically, the failure of F-actin polymerization at the site of excision of cilia tips caused suppression of cilia ectocytosis on Rab7 depletion. Overall, our results suggest a novel function for Rab7 in regulating cilia ectocytosis and cilia disassembly via control of intraciliary F-actin polymerization.

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