Purpose of review To review publications relating to apolipoprotein L1 (APOL1) renal risk variants published 2017. Recent findings The study of APOL1 variants continues to be highly active; 24 articles published in 2017 were selected to highlight. These include clinical studies of kidney disease, kidney transplantation, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and genetic diversity. Laboratory studies included APOL1 association with vesicle-associated membrane soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor activating protein receptor protein and with soluble urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor, mitochondrial dysfunction, endolysosomal dysfunction, and inflammasome activation. Summary Our understanding of the role of APOL1 genetic variants and the mechanisms for renal toxicity continues to deepen. It is not yet clear which pathways are most relevant to human disease, and so, the most relevant drug targets remain to be defined.