Basal bodies (BBs) are conserved eukaryotic structures that organize cilia. They are comprised of nine, cylindrically arranged, triplet microtubules (TMTs) connected to each other by inter-TMT linkages which stabilize the structure. Poc1 is a conserved protein important for BB structural integrity in the face of ciliary forces transmitted to BBs. To understand how Poc1 confers BB stability, we identified the precise position of Poc1 in the Tetrahymena BB and the effect of Poc1 loss on BB structure. Poc1 binds at the TMT inner junctions, stabilizing TMTs directly. From this location, Poc1 also stabilizes inter-TMT linkages throughout the BB, including the cartwheel pinhead and the inner scaffold. The full localization of the inner scaffold protein Fam161A requires Poc1. As ciliary forces are increased, Fam161A is reduced, indicative of a force-dependent molecular remodeling of the inner scaffold. Thus, while not essential for BB assembly, Poc1 promotes BB interconnections that establish an architecture competent to resist ciliary forces.

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