renal primary cilium Most vertebrate cells possess a single primary cilium.   The cilium is a thin projection that extends from the surface of the cell and is believed to sense mechanical, chemical, osmotic, and thermal stimuli.   In the kidney, defects in the primary cilium underlie polycystic kidney disease (PKD), a major cause of kidney failure.   Using patch-clamp electrophysiology, we study the chemical and electrical properties of renal primary cilia.   Cilia are obtained from cultured mIMCD-3 cells, which originated in the inner medullary collecting duct of mouse kidney.   A single primary cilium is isolated in a recording micropipette, allowing us to measure the responses of the membrane to stimuli that may be present inside or outside the cell.  

Images from the Kidney Project

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