Autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease is caused by mutations in PKHD1, which encodes the membrane-associated receptor-like protein fibrocystin/polyductin (FPC). FPC associates with the primary cilia of epithelial cells and co-localizes with the Pkd2 gene product polycystin-2 (PC2), suggesting that these two proteins may function in a common molecular pathway. For investigation of this, a mouse model with a gene-targeted mutation in Pkhd1 that recapitulates phenotypic characteristics of human autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease was produced. The absence of FPC is associated with aberrant ciliogenesis in the kidneys of Pkhd1-deficient mice. It was found that the COOH-terminus of FPC and the NH2-terminus of PC2 interact and that lack of FPC reduced PC2 expression but not vice versa, suggesting that PC2 may function immediately downstream of FPC in vivo. PC2-channel activities were dysregulated in cultured renal epithelial cells derived from Pkhd1 mutant mice, further supporting that both cystoproteins function in a common pathway. In addition, mice with mutations in both Pkhd1 and Pkd2 had a more severe renal cystic phenotype than mice with single mutations, suggesting that FPC acts as a genetic modifier for disease severity in autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease that results from Pkd2 mutations. It is concluded that a functional and molecular interaction exists between FPC and PC2 in vivo.