Biochemical characterization of bona fide polycystin-1 in vitro and in vivo

Alessandra Boletta, Feng Qian, Luiz F. Onuchic, Alessandra Bragonzi, Marina Cortese, Peter M. Deen, Pierre J. Courtoy, Marco R. Soria, Olivier Devuyst, Lucia Monaco, Gregory G. Germino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The most common form of autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (PKD) results from mutation of the PKD1 gene on chromosome 16p13.3. The gene encodes a 14-kb messenger RNA that is predicted to express a 462-kd membrane protein. The gene product, polycystin-1, has a large extracellular portion composed of a novel combination of protein-protein interacting domains and is postulated to be a plasma membrane receptor involved in cell-cell/matrix interactions. However, slow progress has been made in the characterization of polycystin-1 or the determination of its function. In fact, the protein is expressed at very low levels in tissues and cell lines and previous efforts directed at expression of recombinant protein had been largely unsuccessful. We have recently developed constructs of full-length human PKD1 complementary (cDNA) that can be expressed in both a stable and transient fashion in mammalian cells. We used these systems to characterize our antibodies and to track the protein in vivo. We report here the first biochemical characterization of recombinant polycystin-1 and show that the protein is a 520-kd glycosylated polypeptide with an unglycosylated core of 460 kd. Subcellular fractionation as well as biotinylation studies confirmed that the protein is plasma-membrane associated. Furthermore, we show that the recombinant protein localizes to cell-cell junctions in polarized madin darby canine kidney cells as revealed by indirect immunofluorescence. Our data represent the first characterization of polycystin-1 performed under highly controlled conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1421-1429
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Kidney Diseases
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Polycystic kidney disease (PKD)
  • Polycystin-1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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