Polycystin-1 is a novel protein predicted to be a large membrane-spanning glycoprotein with an extracellular N-terminus and an intracellular C-terminus, harboring several structural motifs. To study the subcellular localization, antibodies raised against various domains of polycystin-1 and against specific adhesion complex proteins were used for two-color immunofluorescence staining. In Madine Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells, polycystin-1 was detected in the cytoplasm as well as co-localizing with desmosomes, but not with tight or adherens junctions. Using confocal laser scanning and immunoelectron microscopy we confirmed the desmosomal localization. By performing a calcium switch experiment, we demonstrated the sequential reassembly of tight junctions, subsequently adherens junctions and finally desmosomes. Polycystin-1 only stained the membrane after incorporation of desmoplakin into the desmosomes, suggesting that membrane-bound polycystin-1 may be important for cellular signaling or cell adhesion, but not for the assembly of adhesion complexes.