Intramembranous ossification, which consists of direct conversion of mesenchymal cells to osteoblasts, is a characteristic process in skull development. One crucial role of these osteoblasts is to secrete collagen-containing bone matrix. However, it remains unclear how the dynamics of collagen trafficking is regulated during skull development. Here, we reveal the regulatory mechanisms of ciliary and golgin proteins required for intramembranous ossification. During normal skull formation, osteoblasts residing on the osteogenic front actively secreted collagen. Mass spectrometry and proteomic analysis determined endogenous binding between ciliary protein IFT20 and golgin protein GMAP210 in these osteoblasts. As seen in Ift20 mutant mice, disruption of neural crest-specific GMAP210 in mice caused osteopenia-like phenotypes due to dysfunctional collagen trafficking. Mice lacking both IFT20 and GMAP210 displayed more severe skull defects compared with either IFT20 or GMAP210 mutants. These results demonstrate that the molecular complex of IFT20 and GMAP210 is essential for the intramembranous ossification during skull development.

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