Ciliary receptors and their certain downstream signaling components undergo intraflagellar transport (IFT) as BBSome cargoes to maintain their ciliary dynamics for sensing and transducing extracellular stimuli inside the cell. Cargo laden BBSomes shed from retrograde IFT at the proximal ciliary region above the transition zone (TZ) followed by diffusing through the TZ for ciliary retrieval, while how the BBSome barrier passage is controlled remains elusive. Here, we show that the BBSome is a major effector of the Arf-like 3 (ARL3) GTPase in
. Under physiological condition, ARL3
binds the membrane for diffusing into and residing in cilia. Following a nucleotide conversion, ARL3
dissociates with the ciliary membrane and binds and recruits the IFT-detached and cargo (phospholipase D, PLD)-laden BBSome at the proximal ciliary region to diffuse through the TZ and out of cilia. ARL3 deficiency impairs ciliary signaling, e.g. phototaxis of
cells, by disrupting BBSome ciliary retrieval, providing a mechanistic understanding behind BBSome ciliary turnover required for ciliary signaling.