Orphan Missense Mutations in the Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator

Institute of Physiology and Cell Biology (IPCB), National Centre for Scientific Research (NCSR), Université de Poitiers, Poitiers, France.
The Journal of molecular diagnostics: JMD (Impact Factor: 4.85). 06/2011; 13(5):520-7. DOI: 10.1016/j.jmoldx.2011.05.004
Source: PubMed


More than 1860 mutations have been found within the human cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene sequence. These mutations can be classified according to their degree of severity in CF disease. Although the most common mutations are well characterized, few data are available for rare mutations. Thus, genetic counseling is particularly difficult when fetuses or patients with CF present these orphan variations. We describe a three-step in vitro assay that can evaluate rare missense CFTR mutation consequences to establish a correlation between genotype and phenotype. By using a green fluorescent protein-tagged CFTR construct, we expressed mutated proteins in COS-7 cells. CFTR trafficking was visualized by confocal microscopy, and the cellular localization of CFTR was determined using intracellular markers. We studied the CFTR maturation process using Western blot analysis and evaluated CFTR channel activity by automated iodide efflux assays. Of six rare mutations that we studied, five have been isolated in our laboratory. The cellular and functional impact that we observed in each case was compared with the clinical data concerning the patients in whom we encountered these mutations. In conclusion, we propose that performing this type of analysis for orphan CFTR missense mutations can improve CF genetic counseling.

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