Improved maturation of CFTR by an ER export signal.
ABSTRACT The cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) is a cAMP-regulated chloride channel in the plasma membrane of several epithelial cells. Maturation of CFTR is inefficient in most cells, with only a fraction of nascent chains being properly folded and transported to the cell surface. The most common mutation in CFTR, CFTR-deltaF508, leads to the genetic disease cystic fibrosis. CFTR-deltaF508 has a temperature-sensitive folding defect and is almost quantitatively degraded in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Here we tested whether a strong ER export signal appended to CFTR improves its transport and surface expression. We show that a single valine ER export signal at the C terminus of the cytoplasmic tail of CFTR improves maturation of wild-type CFTR by 2-fold. This conservative mutation interfered with neither plasma membrane localization nor stability of mature CFTR. In contrast, the valine signal was unable to rescue CFTR-deltaF508 from ER-associated degradation. Our finding of improved maturation of CFTR mediated by a valine signal may be of potential use in gene therapy of cystic fibrosis. Moreover, failure of the valine signal to rescue CFTR-deltaF508 from ER degradation indicates that the inability of CFTR-deltaF508 to leave the ER is unlikely to be due to a malfunctioning ER export signal.
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ABSTRACT: Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is the most common autosomal recessive lethal disorder among Caucasian populations. CF results from mutations and resulting dysfunction of the Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator (CFTR). CFTR is a cyclic AMP-dependent chloride channel that is localized to the apical membrane in epithelial cells where it plays a key role in salt and water homeostasis. An intricate network of molecular chaperone proteins regulates CFTR's proper maturation and trafficking to the apical membrane. Understanding and manipulation of this network may lead to therapeutics for CF in cases where mutant CFTR has aberrant trafficking.Frontiers in pharmacology. 01/2012; 3:137.