Expression of Nek1 during kidney development and cyst formation in multiple nephron segments in the Nek1-deficient kat2J mouse model of polycystic kidney disease

Yumay Chen, Huai Chin Chiang, Patricia Litchfield, Michelle Pena, Charity Juang, Daniel J. Riley

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Background: Neks, mammalian orthologs of the fungal protein kinase never-in-mitosis A, have been implicated in the pathogenesis of polycystic kidney disease. Among them, Nek1 is the primary protein inactivated in kat2J mouse models of PKD. Result: We report the expression pattern of Nek1 and characterize the renal cysts that develop in kat2J mice. Nek1 is detectable in all murine tissues but its expression in wild type and kat2J heterozygous kidneys decrease as the kidneys mature, especially in tubular epithelial cells. In the embryonic kidney, Nek1 expression is most prominent in cells that will become podocytes and proximal tubules. Kidney development in kat2J homozygous mice is aberrant early, before the appearance of gross cysts: developing cortical zones are thin, populated by immature glomeruli, and characterized by excessive apoptosis of several cell types. Cysts in kat2J homozygous mice form postnatally in Bowman's space as well as different tubular subtypes. Late in life, kat2J heterozygous mice form renal cysts and the cells lining these cysts lack staining for Nek1. The primary cilia of cells lining cysts in kat2J homozygous mice are morphologically diverse: in some cells they are unusually long and in others there are multiple cilia of varying lengths. Conclusion: Our studies indicate that Nek1 deficiency leads to disordered kidney maturation, and cysts throughout the nephron.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number63
JournalJournal of Biomedical Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 17 2014



  • Centromere
  • Kidney development
  • Primary cilium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Biochemistry, medical
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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