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Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2004 Jun;286(6):F1012-29.

Regulation of calcium signaling by polycystin-2.

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Renal Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital East, 149 13th St., Charlestown, MA 02129, USA.


Autosomal dominant PKD (ADPKD) is a common lethal genetic disorder characterized by progressive development of fluid-filled cysts in the kidney and other target organs. ADPKD is caused by mutations in the PKD1 and PKD2 genes, encoding the transmembrane proteins polycystin-1 (PC1) and polycystin-2 (PC2), respectively. Although the function and putative interacting ligands of PC1 are largely unknown, recent evidence indicates that PC2 behaves as a TRP-type Ca(2+)-permeable nonselective cation channel. The PC2 channel is implicated in the transient increase in cytosolic Ca(2+) in renal epithelial cells and may be linked to the activation of subsequent signaling pathways. Recent studies also indicate that PC1 functionally interacts with PC2 such that the PC1-PC2 channel complex is an obligatory novel signaling pathway implicated in the transduction of environmental signals into cellular events. The present review purposely avoids issues of regulation of PC2 expression and trafficking and focuses instead on the evidence for the TRP-type cation channel function of PC2. How its role as a cation channel may unmask mechanisms that trigger Ca(2+) transport and regulation is the focus of attention. PC2 channel function may be essential in renal cell function and kidney development. Nonrenal-targeted expression of PC2 and related proteins, including the cardiovascular system, also suggests previously unforeseeable roles in signal transduction.

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