Polycystin-1 (PC-1), the PKD1 gene product, is a large receptor whose expression in renal epithelial cells results in resistance to apoptosis and tubulogenesis, a model consistent with the phenotype observed in patients. This study links PC-1 expression to a signaling pathway that is known to be both antiapoptotic and important for normal tubulogenesis. This study found that PC-1 expression results in phosphorylation of Akt and downstream effectors and that phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3-K) inhibitors prevent this process. In addition, it is shown that dominant negative Akt can revert PC-1-induced protection from apoptosis. Furthermore, it was observed that increased PI3-K β activity in PC-1-expressing MDCK cells seems to be dependent on both tyrosine-kinase activity and heterotrimeric G proteins. It also was found that PC-1-induced tubulogenesis is inhibited by PI3-K inhibitors. Taken together, these data suggest that the PI3-K/Akt cascade may be a central modulator of PC-1 function and that its deregulation might be important in autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease.
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