Polycystin-1 is a microtubule-driven desmosome-associated component in polarized epithelial cells

Nuria Basora*, Marie Pier Tétreault, Marie Pierre Boucher, Elizabeth Herring, Jean François Beaulieu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


In this study, we have analyzed the expression and localization of polycystin-1 in intestinal epithelial cells, a system lacking primary cilia. Polycystin-1 was found to be expressed in the epithelium of the small intestine during development and levels remained elevated in the adult. Dual-labelling indirect immunofluorescence revealed polycystin-1 at sites of cell-cell contact co-localizing with the desmosomes both in situ as well as in polarized Caco-2/15 cells. In unpolarized cultures of Caco-2/15 cells, polycystin-1 was recruited to the cell surface early during initiation of cell junction assembly. In isolated Caco-2/15 cells and HIEC-6 cell cultures, where junctional complexes are absent, polycystin-1 was found predominantly associated with the cytoskeletal elements of the intermediate filaments and microtubule networks. More precisely, polycystin-1 was seen as brightly labelled puncta decorating the keratin-18 positive filaments as well as the β-tubulin positive microtubules, which was particularly obvious in the lamellipodia. Treatment with the microtubule-disrupting agent, nocodazole, eliminated the microtubule association of polycystin-1 but did not seem to affect its association with keratin or the desmosomes. Taken together these data suggest that polycystin-1 is involved with the establishment of cell-cell junctions in absorptive intestinal epithelial cells and exploits the microtubule-based machinery in order to be transported to the plasma membrane.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1454-1464
Number of pages11
JournalExperimental Cell Research
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 2010


  • Cytoskeleton
  • Desmosome
  • Intermediate filament
  • Microtubule
  • Polycystin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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