Polycystin-1, the product of the polycystic kidney disease 1 gene, co-localizes with desmosomes in MDCK cells

Hum Mol Genet. 2000 Nov 1;9(18):2743-50. doi: 10.1093/hmg/9.18.2743.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies / immunology
  • Cadherins / analysis
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Calcium / pharmacology
  • Cell Adhesion / drug effects
  • Cell Line
  • Cytoplasm / chemistry
  • Cytoplasm / drug effects
  • Cytoplasm / metabolism
  • Cytoplasm / ultrastructure
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / metabolism
  • Desmoplakins
  • Desmosomes / chemistry*
  • Desmosomes / drug effects
  • Desmosomes / metabolism*
  • Desmosomes / ultrastructure
  • Dogs
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Microscopy, Immunoelectron
  • Polycystic Kidney Diseases / genetics*
  • Precipitin Tests
  • Proteins / chemistry
  • Proteins / genetics
  • Proteins / immunology
  • Proteins / metabolism*
  • TRPP Cation Channels


  • Antibodies
  • Cadherins
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • Desmoplakins
  • Proteins
  • TRPP Cation Channels
  • polycystic kidney disease 1 protein
  • Calcium