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EMBO J. 1999 Jan 15;18(2):297-305.

The structure of a PKD domain from polycystin-1: implications for polycystic kidney disease.

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  • 1MRC Centre for Protein Engineering, Lensfield Road, Cambridge CB2 1EW.


Most cases of autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) are the result of mutations in the PKD1 gene. The PKD1 gene codes for a large cell-surface glycoprotein, polycystin-1, of unknown function, which, based on its predicted domain structure, may be involved in protein-protein and protein-carbohydrate interactions. Approximately 30% of polycystin-1 consists of 16 copies of a novel protein module called the PKD domain. Here we show that this domain has a beta-sandwich fold. Although this fold is common to a number of cell-surface modules, the PKD domain represents a distinct protein family. The tenth PKD domain of human and Fugu polycystin-1 show extensive conservation of surface residues suggesting that this region could be a ligand-binding site. This structure will allow the likely effects of missense mutations in a large part of the PKD1 gene to be determined.

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