Kidneys shaped

Polycystin-1 C-terminal fragment triggers branching morphogenesis and migration of tubular kidney epithelial cells.

Tudor Toma(

Polycystic kidney disease is characterized by the extensive formation of renal cysts, which can cause progressive renal failure. Most cases are due to autosomal dominant mutations of PKD1 — a gene that encodes polycystin-1 — but the mechanism underling this process remain unclear. In February 15 Journal of Clinical Investigation, Christian Nickel and colleagues from Yale University, USA, show that the polycystin-1 C-terminal fragment is responsible for triggering branching morphogenesis and migration of tubular kidney epithelial cells.

Nickel et al. used a retroviral gene transfer approach to express the cytoplasmic domain of polycystin-1 in murine inner medullary collecting duct cells (IMCDs). They found that overexpression of the C-terminal 112 amino acids of human polycystin-1 leads to greater cell motility, stimulates cell elongation and branching, and causes rounded clusters of IMCDs to generate tubules in culture (J Clin Invest 2002, 109:481-489).

"Our findings demonstrate that the...

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