[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) chloride channel, lyotropic anions with high permeability also bind relatively tightly within the pore. However, the location of permeant anion binding sites, as well as their relationship to anion permeability, is not known. We have identified lysine residue K95 as a key determinant of permeant anion binding in the CFTR pore. Lyotropic anion binding affinity is related to the number of positively charged amino acids located in the inner vestibule of the pore. However, mutations that change the number of positive charges in this pore region have minimal effects on anion permeability. In contrast, a mutation at the narrow pore region alters permeability with minimal effects on anion binding. Our results suggest that a localized permeant anion binding site exists in the pore; however, anion binding to this site has little influence over anion permeability. Implications of this work for the mechanisms of anion recognition and permeability in CFTR are discussed.
The Journal of Physiological Sciences 02/2015; 65(3). DOI:10.1007/s12576-015-0359-6 · 1.25 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) is a Cl(-) channel that governs the quantity and composition of epithelial secretions. CFTR function is normally tightly controlled as dysregulation can lead to life-threatening diseases such as secretory diarrhoea and cystic fibrosis. CFTR activity is regulated by phosphorylation of its cytosolic regulatory (R) domain, and ATP binding and hydrolysis at two nucleotide-binding domains (NBDs). Here, we report that CFTR activity is also controlled by extracellular Cl(-) concentration ([Cl(-)]o). Patch clamp current recordings show that a rise in [Cl(-)]o stimulates CFTR channel activity, an effect conferred by a single arginine residue, R899, in extracellular loop 4 of the protein. Using NBD mutants and ATP dose response studies in WT channels, we determined that [Cl(-)]o sensing was linked to changes in ATP binding energy at NBD1, which likely impacts NBD dimer stability. Biochemical measurements showed that increasing [Cl(-)]o decreased the intrinsic ATPase activity of CFTR mainly through a reduction in maximal ATP turnover. Our studies indicate that sensing [Cl(-)]o is a novel mechanism for regulating CFTR activity and suggest that the luminal ionic environment is an important physiological arbiter of CFTR function, which has significant implications for salt and fluid homeostasis in epithelial tissues.
Pflügers Archiv - European Journal of Physiology 10/2014; 467(8). DOI:10.1007/s00424-014-1618-8 · 3.07 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cystic fibrosis, the most common lethal genetic disease affecting young people in North America, is caused by failure of the chloride ion channel known as CFTR (cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator). CFTR belongs to the large family of ATP-Binding Cassette (ABC) membrane transporters. In CFTR, ATP-driven events at the nucleotide-binding domains (NBDs) open and close a gate that controls chloride permeation. However, the conformational changes concomitant with opening and closing of the CFTR gate are unknown. Diverse techniques including substituted cysteine accessibility method, disulfide cross-linking and patch-clamp recording have been used to explore CFTR channel structure. Here, we consider the architecture of both the open and the closed CFTR channel. We review how CFTR channel structure changes between the closed and the open channel conformations, and portray the relative function of both cytoplasmic and vestigial gates during the gating cycle. Understanding how the CFTR channel gates chloride permeation is central for understanding how CFTR defects lead to CF. Such knowledge opens the door for novel ways to maximize CFTR channel activity in a CF setting.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Activity of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) chloride channel is thought to be controlled by cytoplasmic factors. However, recent evidence has shown that overall channel activity is also influenced by extracellular anions that interact directly with the extracellular loops (ECLs) of the CFTR protein. Very little is known about the structure of the ECLs or how substances interacting with these ECLs might affect CFTR function. We used patch-clamp recording to investigate the accessibility of cysteine-reactive reagents to cysteines introduced throughout ECL1 and 2 key sites in ECL4. Furthermore, interactions between ECL1 and ECL4 were investigated by the formation of disulfide crosslinks between cysteines introduced into these 2 regions. Crosslinks could be formed between R899C (in ECL4) and a number of sites in ECL1 in a manner that was dependent on channel activity, suggesting that the relative orientation of these 2 loops changes on activation. Formation of these crosslinks inhibited channel function, suggesting that relative movement of these ECLs is important to normal channel function. Implications of these findings for the effects of mutations in the ECLs that are associated with cystic fibrosis and interactions with extracellular substances that influence channel activity are discussed.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Opening and closing of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator is controlled by ATP binding and hydrolysis by the cytoplasmic nucleotide binding domains. Different conformational changes in the channel pore have been described during channel opening and closing, however, the relative importance of these changes to the process of gating the pore is not known. We have used patch clamp recording to identify high affinity Cd(2+) bridges formed between pairs of pore-lining cysteine residues introduced into different transmembrane α-helices (TMs). Seven Cd(2+) bridges were identified forming between cysteines in TM6 and TM12. Interestingly, each of these Cd(2+) bridges apparently formed only in closed channels, and their formation stabilized the closed state. In contrast, a single Cd(2+) bridge identified between cysteines in TM1 and TM12 stabilized the channel open state. Analysis of the pattern of Cd(2+) bridge formation in different channel states suggests that lateral separation and convergence of different TMs, rather than relative rotation or translation of different TMs, is the key conformational change that causes the channel pore to open and close.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chloride permeation through the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) Cl− channel is subject to voltage-dependent open-channel block by a diverse range of cytoplasmic anions. However, in most cases the ability of these blocking substances to influence the pore opening and closing process has not been reported. In the present work, patch clamp recording was used to investigate the state-dependent block of CFTR by cytoplasmic Pt(NO2)4
2− ions. Two major effects of Pt(NO2)4
2− were identified. First, this anion caused fast, voltage-dependent block of open channels, leading to an apparent decrease in single-channel current amplitude. Secondly, Pt(NO2)4
2− also decreased channel open probability due to an increase in interburst closed times. Interestingly, mutations in the pore that weakened (K95Q) or strengthened (I344K, V345K) interactions with Pt(NO2)4
2− altered blocker effects both on Cl− permeation and on channel gating, suggesting that both these effects are a consequence of Pt(NO2)4
2− interaction with a single site within the pore. Experiments at reduced extracellular Cl− concentration hinted that Pt(NO2)4
2− may have a third effect, possibly increasing channel activity by interfering with channel closure. These results suggest that Pt(NO2)4
2− can enter from the cytoplasm into the pore inner vestibule of both open and closed CFTR channels, and that Pt(NO2)4
2− bound in the inner vestibule blocks Cl− permeation as well as interfering with channel opening and, perhaps, channel closure. Implications for the location of the channel gate in the pore, and the operation of this gate, are discussed.
Pflügers Archiv - European Journal of Physiology 03/2014; 466(12). DOI:10.1007/s00424-014-1501-7 · 3.07 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Dysfunction of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) chloride channel causes cystic fibrosis, while inappropriate activity of this channel occurs in secretory diarrhea and polycystic kidney disease. Drugs that interact directly with CFTR are therefore of interest in the treatment of a number of disease states. This review focuses on one class of small molecules that interacts directly with CFTR, namely inhibitors that act by directly blocking chloride movement through the open channel pore. In theory such compounds could be of use in the treatment of diarrhea and polycystic kidney disease, however in practice all known substances acting by this mechanism to inhibit CFTR function lack either the potency or specificity for in vivo use. Nevertheless, this theoretical pharmacological usefulness set the scene for the development of more potent, specific CFTR inhibitors. Biophysically, open channel blockers have proven most useful as experimental probes of the structure and function of the CFTR chloride channel pore. Most importantly, the use of these blockers has been fundamental in developing a functional model of the pore that includes a wide inner vestibule that uses positively charged amino acid side chains to attract both permeant and blocking anions from the cell cytoplasm. CFTR channels are also subject to this kind of blocking action by endogenous anions present in the cell cytoplasm, and recently this blocking effect has been suggested to play a role in the physiological control of CFTR channel function, in particular as a novel mechanism linking CFTR function dynamically to the composition of epithelial cell secretions. It has also been suggested that future drugs could target this same pathway as a way of pharmacologically increasing CFTR activity in cystic fibrosis. Studying open channel blockers and their mechanisms of action has resulted in significant advances in our understanding of CFTR as a pharmacological target in disease states, of CFTR channel structure and function, and of how CFTR activity is controlled by its local environment.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Abstract Cystic fibrosis is caused by mutations in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR), a member of the ATP-binding cassette (ABC) family of membrane transport proteins. CFTR is unique among ABC proteins in that it functions not as an active transporter but as an ATP-gated Cl(-) channel. As an ion channel, the function of the CFTR transmembrane channel pore that mediates Cl(-) movement has been studied in great detail. On the other hand, only low resolution structural data is available on the transmembrane parts of the protein. The structure of the channel pore has, however, been modeled on the known structure of active transporter ABC proteins. Currently, significant barriers exist to building a unified view of CFTR pore structure and function. Reconciling functional data on the channel with indirect structural data based on other proteins with very different transport functions and substrates has proven problematic. This review summarizes current structural and functional models of the CFTR Cl(-) channel pore, including a comprehensive review of previous electrophysiological investigations of channel structure and function. In addition, functional data on the three-dimensional arrangement of pore-lining helices, as well as contemporary hypotheses concerning conformational changes in the pore that occur during channel opening and closing, are discussed. Important similarities and differences between different models of the pore highlight current gaps in our knowledge of CFTR structure and function. In order to fill these gaps, structural and functional models of the membrane-spanning pore need to become better integrated.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The membrane-spanning part of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) Cl(-) channel comprises 12 transmembrane (TM) α-helices, arranged in 2 symmetrical groups of 6. However, those TMs that line the channel pore are not completely defined. We used patch clamp recording to compare the accessibility of cysteine-reactive reagents to cysteines introduced into different TMs. Several residues in TM11 were accessible to extracellular and/or intracellular cysteine reactive reagents; however, no reactive cysteines were identified in TMs 5 or 11. Two accessible residues in TM11 (T1115C and S1118C) were found to be more readily modified from the extracellular solution in closed channels, but more readily modified from the intracellular solution in open channels, as previously reported for T338C in TM6. However, the effects of mutagenesis at S1118 (TM11) on a range of pore functional properties were relatively minor compared to the large effects of mutagenesis at T338 (TM6). Our results suggest that the CFTR pore is lined by TM11 but not by TM5 or TM7. Comparison with previous works therefore suggests that the pore is lined by TMs 1, 6, 11, and 12, suggesting that the structure of the open channel pore is asymmetric in terms of the contributions of different TMs. Although TMs 6 and 11 appear to undergo similar conformational changes during channel opening and closing, the influence of these two TMs on the functional properties of the narrowest region of the pore is clearly unequal.
Pflügers Archiv - European Journal of Physiology 08/2013; 466(3). DOI:10.1007/s00424-013-1317-x · 3.07 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: High unitary Cl(-) conductance in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator Cl(-) channel requires a functionally unique, positively charged lysine residue (K95) in the inner vestibule of the channel pore. Here we used a mutagenic approach to investigate the ability of other sites in the pore to host this important positive charge. The loss of conductance observed in the K95Q mutation was >50% rescued by substituting a lysine for each of five different pore-lining amino acids, suggesting that the exact location of the fixed positive charge is not crucial to support high conductance. Moving the positive charge also restored open-channel blocker interactions that are lost in K95Q. Introducing a second positive charge in addition to that at K95 did not increase conductance at any site, but did result in a striking increase in the strength of block by divalent Pt(NO(2))(4)(2-) ions. Based on the site dependence of these effects, we propose that although the exact location of the positive charge is not crucial for normal pore properties, transplanting this charge to other sites results in a diminution of its effectiveness that appears to depend on its location along the axis of the pore.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Multiple transmembrane (TM) segments line the pore of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator Cl(-) channel; however, the relative alignment of these TMs and their relative movements during channel gating are unknown. To gain three-dimensional structural information on the outer pore, we have used patch clamp recording to study the proximity of pairs of cysteine side chains introduced into TMs 6 and 11, using both disulfide cross-linking and Cd(2+) coordination. Following channel activation, disulfide bonds could apparently be formed between three cysteine pairs (of 15 studied): R334C/T1122C, R334C/G1127C, and T338C/S1118C. To examine the state dependence of cross-linking, we combined these cysteine mutations with a nucleotide-binding domain mutation (E1371Q) that stabilizes the channel open state. Investigation of the effects of the E1371Q mutation on disulfide bond formation and Cd(2+) coordination suggests that although R334C/T1122C and T338C/S1118C are closer together in the channel open state, R334C/G1127C are close together and can form disulfide bonds only when the channel is closed. These results provide important new information on the three-dimensional structure of the outer mouth of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator channel pore: TMs 6 and 11 are close enough together to form disulfide bonds in both open and closed channels. Moreover, the altered relative locations of residues in open and in closed channels that we infer allow us to propose that channel opening and closing may be associated with a relative translational movement of TMs 6 and 11, with TM6 moving "down" (toward the cytoplasm) during channel opening.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE There is great interest in the development of potentiator drugs to increase the activity of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) in cystic fibrosis. We tested the ability of several anions to potentiate CFTR activity by a novel mechanism. EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH Patch clamp recordings were used to investigate the ability of extracellular pseudohalide anions (Co(CN)(6) (3-) , Co(NO(2) )(6) (3-) , Fe(CN)(6) (3-) , IrCl(6) (3-) , Fe(CN)(6) (4-) ) to increase the macroscopic conductance of mutant CFTR in intact cells via interactions with cytoplasmic blocking anions. Mutagenesis of CFTR was used to identify a possible molecular mechanism of action. Transepithelial short-circuit current recordings from human airway epithelial cells were used to determine effects on net anion secretion. KEY RESULTS Extracellular pseudohalide anions were able to increase CFTR conductance in intact cells, as well as increase anion secretion in airway epithelial cells. This effect appears to reflect the interaction of these substances with a site on the extracellular face of the CFTR protein. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS Our results identify pseudohalide anions as increasing CFTR function by a previously undescribed molecular mechanism that involves an interaction with an extracellular site on the CFTR protein. Future drugs could utilize this mechanism to increase CFTR activity in cystic fibrosis, possibly in conjunction with known intracellularly-active potentiators.
British Journal of Pharmacology 05/2012; 167(5):1062-75. DOI:10.1111/j.1476-5381.2012.02041.x · 4.99 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Opening and closing of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator chloride channel are controlled by interactions of ATP with its cytoplasmic nucleotide binding domains (NBDs). The NBDs are connected to the transmembrane pore via four cytoplasmic loops. These loops have been suggested to play roles both in channel gating and in forming a cytoplasmic extension of the channel pore. To investigate the structure and function of one of these cytoplasmic loops, we have used patch clamp recording to investigate the accessibility of cytoplasmically applied cysteine-reactive reagents to cysteines introduced into loop 3. We find that methanethiosulfonate (MTS) reagents modify cysteines introduced at 14 of 16 sites studied in the juxtamembrane region of loop 3, in all cases leading to inhibition of channel function. In most cases, both the functional effects of modification and the rate of modification were similar for negatively and positively charged MTS reagents. Single-channel recordings indicated that, at all sites, inhibition was the result of an MTS reagent-induced decrease in channel open probability; in no case was the Cl(-) conductance of open channels altered by modification. These results indicate that loop 3 is readily accessible to the cytoplasm and support the involvement of this region in the control of channel gating. However, our results do not support the hypothesis that this region is close enough to the Cl(-) permeation pathway to exert any influence on permeating Cl(-) ions. We propose that either the cytoplasmic pore is very wide or cytoplasmic Cl(-) ions use other routes to access the transmembrane pore.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Opening and closing of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) chloride channel are controlled by ATP binding and hydrolysis by its nucleotide binding domains (NBDs). This is presumed to control opening of a single "gate" within the permeation pathway, however, the location of such a gate has not been described. We used patch clamp recording to monitor access of cytosolic cysteine reactive reagents to cysteines introduced into different transmembrane (TM) regions in a cysteine-less form of CFTR. The rate of modification of Q98C (TM1) and I344C (TM6) by both [2-sulfonatoethyl] methanethiosulfonate (MTSES) and permeant Au(CN)(2)(-) ions was reduced when ATP concentration was reduced from 1mM to 10μM, and modification by MTSES was accelerated when 2mM pyrophosphate was applied to prevent channel closure. Modification of K95C (TM1) and V345C (TM6) was not affected by these manoeuvres. We also manipulated gating by introducing the mutations K464A (in NBD1) and E1371Q (in NBD2). The rate of modification of Q98C and I344C by both MTSES and Au(CN)(2)(-) was decreased by K464A and increased by E1371Q, whereas modification of K95C and V345C was not affected. These results suggest that access from the cytoplasm to K95 and V345 is similar in open and closed channels. In contrast, modifying ATP-dependent channel gating alters access to Q98 and I344, located further into the pore. We propose that ATP-dependent gating of CFTR is associated with the opening and closing of a gate within the permeation pathway at the level of these pore-lining amino acids.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) chloride channel is a member of the ATP-binding cassette (ABC) protein family, most members of which act as active transporters. Actively transporting ABC proteins are thought to alternate between "outwardly facing" and "inwardly facing" conformations of the transmembrane substrate pathway. In CFTR, it is assumed that the outwardly facing conformation corresponds to the channel open state, based on homology with other ABC proteins. We have used patch clamp recording to quantify the rate of access of cysteine-reactive probes to cysteines introduced into two different transmembrane regions of CFTR from both the intracellular and extracellular solutions. Two probes, the large [2-sulfonatoethyl]methanethiosulfonate (MTSES) molecule and permeant Au(CN)(2)(-) ions, were applied to either side of the membrane to modify cysteines substituted for Leu-102 (first transmembrane region) and Thr-338 (sixth transmembrane region). Channel opening and closing were altered by mutations in the nucleotide binding domains of the channel. We find that, for both MTSES and Au(CN)(2)(-), access to these two cysteines from the cytoplasmic side is faster in open channels, whereas access to these same sites from the extracellular side is faster in closed channels. These results are consistent with alternating access to the transmembrane regions, however with the open state facing inwardly and the closed state facing outwardly. Our findings therefore prompt revision of current CFTR structural and mechanistic models, as well as having broader implications for transport mechanisms in all ABC proteins. Our results also suggest possible locations of both functional and dysfunctional ("vestigial") gates within the CFTR permeation pathway.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Different transmembrane (TM) α helices are known to line the pore of the cystic fibrosis TM conductance regulator (CFTR) Cl(-) channel. However, the relative alignment of these TMs in the three-dimensional structure of the pore is not known. We have used patch-clamp recording to investigate the accessibility of cytoplasmically applied cysteine-reactive reagents to cysteines introduced along the length of the pore-lining first TM (TM1) of a cysteine-less variant of CFTR. We find that methanethiosulfonate (MTS) reagents irreversibly modify cysteines substituted for TM1 residues K95, Q98, P99, and L102 when applied to the cytoplasmic side of open channels. Residues closer to the intracellular end of TM1 (Y84-T94) were not apparently modified by MTS reagents, suggesting that this part of TM1 does not line the pore. None of the internal MTS reagent-reactive cysteines was modified by extracellular [2-(trimethylammonium)ethyl] MTS. Only K95C, closest to the putative intracellular end of TM1, was apparently modified by intracellular [2-sulfonatoethyl] MTS before channel activation. Comparison of these results with recent work on CFTR-TM6 suggests a relative alignment of these two important TMs along the axis of the pore. This alignment was tested experimentally by formation of disulfide bridges between pairs of cysteines introduced into these two TMs. Currents carried by the double mutants K95C/I344C and Q98C/I344C, but not by the corresponding single-site mutants, were inhibited by the oxidizing agent copper(II)-o-phenanthroline. This inhibition was irreversible on washing but could be reversed by the reducing agent dithiothreitol, suggesting disulfide bond formation between the introduced cysteine side chains. These results allow us to develop a model of the relative positions, functional contributions, and alignment of two important TMs lining the CFTR pore. Such functional information is necessary to understand and interpret the three-dimensional structure of the pore.
The Journal of General Physiology 08/2011; 138(2):165-78. DOI:10.1085/jgp.201110605 · 4.57 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The membrane-spanning part of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) Cl(-) channel comprises 12 transmembrane (TM) α-helices, arranged into two pseudo-symmetrical groups of six. While TM6 in the N-terminal TMs is known to line the pore and to make an important contribution to channel properties, much less is known about its C-terminal counterpart, TM12. We have used patch clamp recording to investigate the accessibility of cytoplasmically applied cysteine-reactive reagents to cysteines introduced along the length of TM12 in a cysteine-less variant of CFTR. We find that methanethiosulfonate (MTS) reagents irreversibly modify cysteines substituted for TM12 residues N1138, M1140, S1141, T1142, Q1144, W1145, V1147, N1148, and S1149 when applied to the cytoplasmic side of open channels. Cysteines sensitive to internal MTS reagents were not modified by extracellular [2-(trimethylammonium)ethyl] MTS, consistent with MTS reagent impermeability. Both S1141C and T1142C could be modified by intracellular [2-sulfonatoethyl] MTS prior to channel activation; however, N1138C and M1140C, located deeper into the pore from its cytoplasmic end, were modified only after channel activation. Comparison of these results with previous work on CFTR-TM6 allows us to develop a model of the relative positions, functional contributions, and alignment of these two important TMs lining the CFTR pore. We also propose a mechanism by which these seemingly structurally symmetrical TMs make asymmetric contributions to the functional properties of the channel pore.
Pflügers Archiv - European Journal of Physiology 07/2011; 462(4):559-71. DOI:10.1007/s00424-011-0998-2 · 3.07 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Studies of the structure and function of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) Cl(-) channel have been advanced by the development of functional channel variants in which all 18 endogenous cysteine residues have been mutated ("cys-less" CFTR). However, cys-less CFTR has a slightly higher single-channel conductance than wild-type CFTR, raising questions as to the suitability of cys-less as a model of the wild-type CFTR pore. We used site-directed mutagenesis and patch-clamp recording to investigate the origin of this conductance difference and to determine the extent of functional differences between wild-type and cys-less CFTR channel permeation properties. Our results suggest that the conductance difference is the result of a single substitution, of C343: the point mutant C343S has a conductance similar to cys-less, whereas the reverse mutation, S343C in a cys-less background, restores wild-type conductance levels. Other cysteine substitutions (C128S, C225S, C376S, C866S) were without effect. Substitution of other residues for C343 suggested that conductance is dependent on amino acid side chain volume at this position. A range of other functional pore properties, including interactions with channel blockers (Au[CN] (2) (-) , 5-nitro-2-[3-phenylpropylamino]benzoic acid, suramin) and anion permeability, were not significantly different between wild-type and cys-less CFTR. Our results suggest that functional differences between these two CFTR constructs are of limited scale and scope and result from a small change in side chain volume at position 343. These results therefore support the use of cys-less as a model of the CFTR pore region.