Regulatory domain phosphorylation to distinguish the mechanistic basis underlying acute CFTR modulators
ABSTRACT Modulator compounds intended to overcome disease-causing mutations in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) show significant promise in clinical testing for cystic fibrosis. However, the mechanism(s) of action underlying these compounds are not fully understood. Activation of CFTR ion transport requires PKA-regulated phosphorylation of the regulatory domain (R-D) and dimerization of the nucleotide binding domains. Using a newly developed assay, we evaluated nine compounds including both CFTR potentatiators and activators discovered via various high-throughput screening strategies to acutely augment CFTR activity. We found considerable differences in the effects on R-D phosphorylation. Some (including UC(CF)-152) stimulated robust phosphorylation, and others had little effect (e.g., VRT-532 and VX-770). We then compared CFTR activation by UC(CF)-152 and VRT-532 in Ussing chamber studies using two epithelial models, CFBE41o(-) and Fischer rat thyroid cells, expressing various CFTR forms. UC(CF)-152 activated wild-type-, G551D-, and rescued F508del-CFTR currents but did not potentiate cAMP-mediated CFTR activation. In contrast, VRT-532 moderately activated CFTR short-circuit current and strongly potentiated forskolin-mediated current. Combined with the result that UC(CF)-152, but not VRT-532 or VX-770, acts by increasing CFTR R-D phosphorylation, these findings indicate that potentiation of endogenous cAMP-mediated activation of mutant CFTR is not due to a pathway involving augmented R-D phosphorylation. This study presents an assay useful to distinguish preclinical compounds by a crucial mechanism underlying CFTR activation, delineates two types of compound able to acutely augment CFTR activity (e.g., activators and potentiators), and demonstrates that a number of different mechanisms can be successfully employed to activate mutant CFTR.
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ABSTRACT: Post-translational modifications (PTMs) play a crucial role during biogenesis of many transmembrane proteins. Previously, it had not been possible to evaluate PTMs in cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR), the epithelial ion channel responsible for cystic fibrosis, because of difficulty obtaining sufficient amounts of purified protein. We recently used an inducible overexpression strategy to generate recombinant CFTR protein at levels suitable for purification and detailed analysis. Using liquid chromatography (LC) tandem and multiple reaction ion monitoring (MRM) mass spectrometry, we identified specific sites of PTMs, including palmitoylation, phosphorylation, methylation and possible ubiquitination. Many of these covalent CFTR modifications have not been described previously, but are likely to influence key and clinically important molecular processes including protein maturation, gating and the mechanisms underlying certain mutations associated with disease.Protein Engineering Design and Selection 11/2011; 25(1):7-14. DOI:10.1093/protein/gzr054 · 2.32 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Cystic fibrosis is the most common life-threatening recessively inherited disease in Caucasians. Due to early provision of care in specialized reference centers and more comprehensive care, survival has improved over time. Despite great advances in supportive care and in our understanding of its pathophysiology, there is still no cure for the disease. Therapeutic strategies aimed at rescuing the abnormal protein are either being sought after or under investigation. This review highlights salient insights into pathophysiology and candidate molecules suitable for CFTR pharmacotherapy. Clinical trials using Ataluren, VX-809 and ivacaftor have provided encouraging data. Preclinical data with inhibitors of phosphodiesterase type 5, such as sildenafil and analogs, have highlighted their potential for CFTR pharmacotherapy. Because sildenafil and analogs are in clinical use for other clinical applications, research on this class of drugs might speed up the development of new therapies for CF.Clinical biochemistry 06/2012; 45(15):1132-44. DOI:10.1016/j.clinbiochem.2012.05.034 · 2.23 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Cystic fibrosis (CF) is caused by loss-of-function mutations in the CF transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) protein, a cAMP-regulated anion channel expressed primarily at the apical plasma membrane of secretory epithelia. Nearly 2000 mutations in the CFTR gene have been identified that cause disease by impairing its translation, cellular processing, and/or chloride channel gating. The fundamental premise of CFTR corrector and potentiator therapy for CF is that addressing the underlying defects in the cellular processing and chloride channel function of CF-causing mutant CFTR alleles will result in clinical benefit by addressing the basic defect underlying CF. Correctors are principally targeted at F508del cellular misprocessing, whereas potentiators are intended to restore cAMP-dependent chloride channel activity to mutant CFTRs at the cell surface. This article reviews the discovery of CFTR potentiators and correctors, what is known regarding their mechanistic basis, and encouraging results achieved in clinical testing.Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine 07/2013; 3(7). DOI:10.1101/cshperspect.a009761 · 7.56 Impact Factor