Type 2 diabetes mellitus is affecting more than 382 million people worldwide. Although much progress has been made, a comprehensive understanding of the underlying disease mechanism is still lacking. Here we report a role for the β-cell primary cilium in type 2 diabetes susceptibility. We find impaired glucose handling in young Bbs4−/− mice before the onset of obesity. Basal body/ciliary perturbation in murine pancreatic islets leads to impaired first phase insulin release ex and in vivo. Insulin receptor is recruited to the cilium of stimulated β-cells and ciliary/basal body integrity is required for activation of downstream targets of insulin signalling. We also observe a reduction in the number of ciliated β-cells along with misregulated ciliary/basal body gene expression in pancreatic islets in a diabetic rat model. We suggest that ciliary function is implicated in insulin secretion and insulin signalling in the β-cell and that ciliary dysfunction could contribute to type 2 diabetes susceptibility.