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J Biol Chem. 2004 Jun 11;279(24):25582-9. Epub 2004 Apr 1.

The N-terminal extracellular domain is required for polycystin-1-dependent channel activity.

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Division of Nephrology, Department of Internal Medicine, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas 75390, USA.


Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is caused by mutation of polycystin-1 or polycystin-2. Polycystin-2 is a Ca(2+)-permeable cation channel. Polycystin-1 is an integral membrane protein of less defined function. The N-terminal extracellular region of polycystin-1 contains potential motifs for protein and carbohydrate interaction. We now report that expression of polycystin-1 alone in Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells and in PKD2-null cells can confer Ca(2+)-permeable non-selective cation currents. Co-expression of a loss-of-function mutant of polycystin-2 in CHO cells does not reduce polycystin-1-dependent channel activity. A polycystin-1 mutant lacking approximately 2900 amino acids of the extracellular region is targeted to the cell surface but does not produce current. Extracellular application of antibodies against the immunoglobulin-like PKD domains reduces polycystin-1-dependent current. These results support the hypothesis that polycystin-1 is a surface membrane receptor that transduces the signal via changes in ionic currents.

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