Polycystin-1 protein level determines activity of the Gα 12/JNK apoptosis pathway

Wanfeng Yu, Tianqing Kong, Sarah Beaudry, Mei Tran, Hideyuki Negoro, Vijay Yanamadala, Bradley M. Denker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Mutations in PKD1 are the most common cause of autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD). The protein product of PKD1 (polycystin-1 (PC1)) is a large transmembrane protein with a short intracellular C terminus that interacts with numerous signaling molecules, including Gα 12. Cyst formation in ADPKD results from numerous cellular defects, including abnormal cilia, changes in polarity, and dysregulated apoptosis and proliferation. Recently, we reported increased apoptosis in Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells through Gα12 stimulation of JNK and degradation of the anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2 (Yanamadala, V., Negoro, H., Gunaratnam, L., Kong, T., and Denker, B. M. (2007) J. Biol. Chem. 282, 24352-24363). Herein, we confirm this pathway in Gα12-silenced MDCK cells and utilize MDCK cell lines harboring either overexpressed or silenced PC1 to demonstrate that PC1 expression levels determine activity of the JNK/Bcl-2 apoptosis pathway. PC1-overexpressing MDCK cells were resistant to thrombin/Gα12-stimulated apoptosis, JNK activation, and Bcl-2 degradation. In contrast, PC1-silenced MDCK cells displayed enhanced thrombin-induced apoptosis, JNK activity, and Bcl-2 degradation. In pulldown experiments, PC1 bound to Gα12, but not the related Gα13 subunit, and thrombin-stimulated MDCK cells led to increased interaction of Gα12 with the PC1 C terminus. In transient transfection assays, a PC1 C-terminal mutant lacking the G protein-binding domain was uncoupled from PC1-inhibited apoptosis. PC1 expression levels may be increased or decreased in ADPKD, and these findings suggest a mechanism in which levels of PC1 expression modulate Gα12/JNK-stimulated apoptosis. Taken together, these findings are consistent with a set point model in which PC1 expression levels regulate specific G protein signaling pathways important to cyst development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10243-10251
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number14
StatePublished - Apr 2 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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