PKD1 is the most common site for mutations in human autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD). ADPKD is characterized by progressive replacement of kidney tissue by epithelial cysts and eventual renal failure. Hepatic and pancreatic cysts are also common. The PKD1 protein, polycystin, is a cell-surface protein of unknown function that is widely expressed in epithelia and in vascular smooth muscle and myocardium. None of the genetic forms of murine polycystic disease map to the murine Pkd1 locus. We introduced into mice by homologous recombination a Pkd1 truncation mutation, Pkd1-, that mimics a mutation found in ADPKD. Pkd1- heterozygotes have no discernible phenotype, whereas homozygotes die during the perinatal period with massively enlarged cystic kidneys, pancreatic ductal cysts and pulmonary hypoplasia. Renal cyst formation begins at embryonic day 15.5 (E15.5) in proximal tubules and progresses rapidly to replace the entire renal parenchyma. The timing of cyst formation indicates that full-length polycystin is required for normal morphogenesis during elongation and maturation of tubular structures in the kidney and pancreas.
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