PKHD1 gene silencing may cause cell abnormal proliferation through modulation of intracellular calcium in autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease

J Biochem Mol Biol. 2007 Jul 31;40(4):467-74. doi: 10.5483/bmbrep.2007.40.4.467.


Autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease (ARPKD) is one of the important genetic disorders in pediatric practice. Mutation of the polycystic kidney and hepatic disease gene 1 (PKHD1) was identified as the cause of ARPKD. The gene encodes a 67-exon transcript for a large protein of 4074 amino acids termed fibrocystin, but its function remains unknown. The neoplastic-like in cystic epithelial proliferation and the epidermal growth factor/epidermal growth factor receptor (EGF/EGFR) axis overactivity are known as the most important characteristics of ARPKD. Since the misregulation of Ca(2+) signaling may lead to aberrant structure and function of the collecting ducts in kidney of rat with ARPKD, present study aimed to investigate the further mechanisms of abnormal proliferation of cystic cells by inhibition of PKHD1 expression. For this, a stable PKHD1-silenced HEK-293T cell line was established. Then cell proliferation rates, intracellular Ca(2+) concentration and extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2) activity were assessed after treatment with EGF, a calcium channel blocker and agonist, verapamil and Bay K8644. It was found that PKHD1-silenced HEK-293T cell lines were hyperproliferative to EGF stimulation. Also PKHD1-silencing lowered the intracellular Ca(2+) and caused EGF-induced ERK1/2 overactivation in the cells. An increase of intracellular Ca(2+) in PKHD1-silenced cells repressed the EGF-dependent ERK1/2 activation and the hyperproliferative response to EGF stimulation. Thus, inhibition of PKHD1 can cause EGF-induced excessive proliferation through decreasing intracellular Ca(2+) resulting in EGF-induced ERK1/2 activation. Our results suggest that the loss of fibrocystin may lead to abnormal proliferation in kidney epithelial cells and cyst formation in ARPKD by modulation of intracellular Ca(2+).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Epidermal Growth Factor / pharmacology
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Gene Silencing*
  • Humans
  • Polycystic Kidney, Autosomal Recessive / genetics
  • Polycystic Kidney, Autosomal Recessive / metabolism*
  • Polycystic Kidney, Autosomal Recessive / pathology*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • RNA, Small Interfering / metabolism
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / genetics*
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / metabolism


  • PKHD1 protein, human
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Epidermal Growth Factor
  • Calcium