What are the structures of polycystin 1 and polycystin 2 in autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD)?

Updated: Mar 24, 2020
  • Author: Roser Torra, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Vecihi Batuman, MD, FASN  more...
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Polycystin 1 is a large protein with a long extracellular N-terminal region, 11 transmembrane domains, and a short intracellular C-terminal tail. Polycystin 2 is structurally related to the transient receptor potential (TRP) channel family, and it is known to function as a nonselective cation channel permeable to Ca2+.

Polycystin 1 and polycystin 2 form heteromeric complexes and colocalize in the primary cilium of renal epithelial cells. The primary cilium is a long, nonmotile tubular structure located in the apical surface of the epithelial cells in the renal tubules. Its function was unknown for a long time. However, studies now indicate that the primary cilium may be a mechanoreceptor that senses changes in apical fluid flow and that transduces them into an intracellular Ca2+ signaling response.

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