Cystic diseases of the kidney molecular biology and genetics
SourceArchives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
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Context.-Cystic diseases of the kidney are a very heterogeneous group of renal inherited conditions, with more than 33 genes involved and encompassing Xlinked, autosomal dominant, and autosomal recessive inheritance. Although mostly monogenic with mendelian inheritance, there are clearly examples of oligogenic inheritance, such as 3 mutations in 2 genes, while the existence of genetic modifiers is perhaps the norm, based on the extent of variable expressivity and the broad spectrum of symptoms. Objectives.-To present in the form of a mini review the major known cystic diseases of the kidney for which genes have been mapped or cloned and characterized, with some information on their cellular and molecular biology and genetics, and to pay special attention to commenting on the issues of molecular diagnostics, in view of the genetic and allelic heterogeneity. Data Sources.-We used major reviews that make excellent detailed presentation of the various diseases, as well as original publications. Conclusions.-There is already extensive genetic heterogeneity in the group of cystic diseases of the kidneyhowever, there are still many more genes awaiting to be discovered that are implicated or mutated in these diseases. In addition, the synergism and interaction among this repertoire of gene products is largely unknown, while a common unifying aspect is the expression of nearly all of them at the primary cilium or the basal body. A major interplay of functions is anticipated, while mutations in all converge in the unifying phenotype of cyst formation.
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