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.
"Murine CFTR function was assessed by nasal potential difference measurements. Under anesthesia, CFTR-dependent anion transport was measured in the murine nasal epithelium as a change in potential difference following perfusion with chloride free forskolin (10 μM) in the setting of amiloride (100 μM), as previously described [19,29]. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cigarette smoking causes Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), the 3rd leading cause of death in the U.S. CFTR ion transport dysfunction has been implicated in COPD pathogenesis, and is associated with chronic bronchitis. However, susceptibility to smoke induced lung injury is variable and the underlying genetic contributors remain unclear. We hypothesized that presence of heterozygosity CFTR mutations may alter susceptibility to cigarette smoke induced CFTR dysfunction. Consequently, COPD patients with chronic bronchitis may have a higher rate of CFTR mutations compared to the general population.
Primary human bronchial epithelial cells derived from F508del CFTR heterozygotes and mice with (CFTR+/-) and without (CFTR+/+) CFTR heterozygosity were exposed to whole cigarette smoke (WCS); CFTR-dependent ion transport was assessed by Ussing chamber electrophysiology and nasal potential difference measurements, respectively. Caucasians with COPD and chronic bronchitis, age 40 to 80 with FEV1/FVC < 0.70 and FEV1 < 60% predicted, were selected for genetic analysis from participants in the NIH COPD Clinical Research Network's Azithromycin for Prevention of Exacerbations of COPD in comparison to 32,900 Caucasian women who underwent prenatal genetic testing. Genetic analysis involved an allele-specific genotyping of 89 CFTR mutations.
Exposure to WCS caused a pronounced reduction in CFTR activity in both CFTR (+/+) cells and F508del CFTR (+/-) cells; however, neither the degree of decrement (44.7% wild-type vs. 53.5% F508del heterozygous, P = NS) nor the residual CFTR activity were altered by CFTR heterozygosity. Similarly, WCS caused a marked reduction in CFTR activity measured by NPD in both wild type and CFTR heterozygous mice, but the severity of decrement (91.1% wild type vs. 47.7% CF heterozygous, P = NS) and the residual activity were not significantly affected by CFTR genetic status. Five of 127 (3.9%) COPD patients with chronic bronchitis were heterozygous for CFTR mutations which was not significantly different from controls (4.5%) (P = NS).
The magnitude of WCS induced reductions in CFTR activity was not affected by the presence of CFTR mutation heterozygosity. CFTR mutations do not increase the risk of COPD with chronic bronchitis. CFTR dysfunction due to smoking is primarily an acquired phenomenon and is not affected by the presence of congenital CFTR mutations.
Respiratory research 02/2014; 15(1):18. DOI:10.1186/1465-9921-15-18 · 3.09 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] 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 · 2.54 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] 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.
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