Cytoplasmic cilia, a specialized type of cilia in which the axoneme resides within the cytoplasm rather than within the ciliary compartment, are proposed to allow for the efficient assembly of very long cilia. Despite being found diversely in male gametes (e.g., Plasmodium falciparum microgametocytes and human and Drosophila melanogaster sperm), very little is known about cytoplasmic cilia assembly. Here, we show that a novel RNP granule containing the mRNAs for axonemal dynein motor proteins becomes highly polarized to the distal end of the cilia during cytoplasmic ciliogenesis in Drosophila sperm. This allows for the incorporation of these axonemal dyneins into the axoneme directly from the cytoplasm, possibly by localizing translation. We found that this RNP granule contains the proteins Reptin and Pontin, loss of which perturbs granule formation and prevents incorporation of the axonemal dyneins, leading to sterility. We propose that cytoplasmic cilia assembly requires the precise localization of mRNAs encoding key axonemal constituents, allowing these proteins to incorporate efficiently into the axoneme.

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