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BACKGROUND: The mutational mechanism responsible for cyst formation in polycystic kidney disease 1 gene (PKD1) remains controversial, with data indicating a two-hit mechanism, but also evidence of polycystin-1 expression in cystic tissue. METHODS: To investigate this apparent paradox, we analyzed polycystin-1 expression in cystic renal or liver tissue from 10 patients with truncating PKD1 mutations (including one early-onset case) and 2 patients with severe disease associated with contiguous deletions of TSC2 and PKD1, using monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) to both extreme N-(7e12) and C-terminal (PKS-A) regions of the protein. Truncation of the C-terminal epitope from the putative mutant proteins in each case allowed exclusive assessment of the nontruncated protein with PKS-A. RESULTS: In adult PKD1 tissue, the majority of cysts (approximately 80%) showed polycystin-1 expression, although staining was absent in a variable but significant minority (approximately 20%), in spite of the normal expression of marker proteins. Unlike adult PKD1, however, negative cysts were rarely found in infantile PKD1 or TSC2/PKD1 deletion cases. CONCLUSIONS: If a two-hit mutational mechanism is operational, these results suggest that the majority of somatic mutations in adult PKD1 are likely to be missense changes. The low level of polycystin-1-negative cysts in the three "early-onset" cases, however, suggests that a somatic PKD1 mutation may not always be required for cyst formation.

Original publication




Conference paper

Publication Date





1324 - 1333


Adult, Alleles, Antibodies, Monoclonal, Blotting, Western, Cell Membrane, Epitopes, Fluorescent Antibody Technique, Gene Deletion, Gene Expression, Humans, Kidney Tubules, Liver, Mutation, Polycystic Kidney, Autosomal Dominant, Protein Structure, Tertiary, Proteins, Repressor Proteins, TRPP Cation Channels, Tumor Suppressor Proteins