Genes that cause PKD could also make you more susceptible to seizures in the brain
Review written by Phillip Bokinic
PhD Candidate, Macquarie University
Cells can sense changes in their external environment through a tiny hair-like antenna known as “cilia”. Within the kidney, these sensory antennae are tightly linked to the development of polycystic kidney disease (PKD), as the disrupted genes that cause PKD are all proteins that are expressed in cilia or linked to cilia function, hence the reason PKD is part of a group of diseases called ciliopathies. Recently, a link between cilia on nerves and PKD-related genes has been found in the brain. Published in Human Molecular Genetics, Jing Zhou’s team from Harvard Medical School in Boston have discovered how two proteins found on cilia in the brain can control the activity of a nerve and critically, predispose the brain to epilepsy (1).