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PLoS One. 2010 Sep 14;5(9):e12719. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0012719.

Nephrocystin-1 forms a complex with polycystin-1 via a polyproline motif/SH3 domain interaction and regulates the apoptotic response in mammals.

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  • 1Division of Genetics and Cell Biology, Dulbecco Telethon Institute at Dibit, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan, Italy.


Mutations in PKD1, the gene encoding for the receptor Polycystin-1 (PC-1), cause autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD). The cytoplasmic C-terminus of PC-1 contains a coiled-coil domain that mediates an interaction with the PKD2 gene product, Polycystin-2 (PC-2). Here we identify a novel domain in the PC-1 C-terminal tail, a polyproline motif mediating an interaction with Src homology domain 3 (SH3). A screen for interactions using the PC-1 C-terminal tail identified the SH3 domain of nephrocystin-1 (NPHP1) as a potential binding partner of PC-1. NPHP1 is the product of a gene that is mutated in a different form of renal cystic disease, nephronophthisis (NPHP). We show that in vitro pull-down assays and NMR structural studies confirmed the interaction between the PC-1 polyproline motif and the NPHP1 SH3 domain. Furthermore, the two full-length proteins interact through these domains; using a recently generated model system allowing us to track endogenous PC-1, we confirm the interaction between the endogenous proteins. Finally, we show that NPHP1 trafficking to cilia does not require PC-1 and that PC-1 may require NPHP1 to regulate resistance to apoptosis, but not to regulate cell cycle progression. In line with this, we find high levels of apoptosis in renal specimens of NPHP patients. Our data uncover a link between two different ciliopathies, ADPKD and NPHP, supporting the notion that common pathogenetic defects, possibly involving de-regulated apoptosis, underlie renal cyst formation.

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