[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate (PIP2) is a cofactor necessary for the activity of KCNQ1 channels. Some Long QT mutations of KCNQ1, including R243H, R539W and R555C have been shown to decrease KCNQ1 interaction with PIP2. A previous study suggested that R539W is paradoxically less sensitive to intracellular magnesium inhibition than the WT channel, despite a decreased interaction with PIP2. In the present study, we confirm this peculiar behavior of R539W and suggest a molecular mechanism underlying it.
COS-7 cells were transfected with WT or mutated KCNE1-KCNQ1 channel, and patch-clamp recordings were performed in giant-patch, permeabilized-patch or ruptured-patch configuration. Similar to other channels with a decreased PIP2 affinity, we observed that the R243H and R555C mutations lead to an accelerated current rundown when membrane PIP2 levels are decreasing. As opposed to R243H and R555C mutants, R539W is not more but rather less sensitive to PIP2 decrease than the WT channel. A molecular model of a fragment of the KCNQ1 C-terminus and the membrane bilayer suggested that a potential novel interaction of R539W with cholesterol stabilizes the channel opening and hence prevents rundown upon PIP2 depletion. We then carried out the same rundown experiments under cholesterol depletion and observed an accelerated R539W rundown that is consistent with this model.
We show for the first time that a mutation may shift the channel interaction with PIP2 to a preference for cholesterol. This de novo interaction wanes the sensitivity to PIP2 variations, showing that a mutated channel with a decreased affinity to PIP2 could paradoxically present a slowed current rundown compared to the WT channel. This suggests that caution is required when using measurements of current rundown as an indicator to compare WT and mutant channel PIP2 sensitivity.
PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(3):e93255. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Filamin A (FlnA) is an ubiquitous actin binding protein which anchors various transmembrane proteins to the cell cytoskeleton and provides a scaffold to many cytoplasmic signaling proteins involved in actin cytoskeleton remodeling in response to mechanical stress and cytokines stimulation. Although the vast majority of FlnA binding partners interact with the carboxy-terminal immunoglobulin like (Igl) repeats of FlnA, little is known on the role of the amino-N-terminal repeats. Here, using cardiac mitral valvular dystrophy associated FlnA-G288R and P637Q mutations located in the N-terminal Igl repeat 1 and 4 respectively as a model, we identified a new role of FlnA N-terminal repeats in small Rho-GTPases regulation. Using FlnA-deficient melanoma and HT1080 cell lines as expression systems we showed FlnA mutations reduce cell spreading and migration capacities. Furthermore, we defined a signaling network in which FlnA mutations alter the balance between RhoA and Rac1 GTPases activities in favor of RhoA and provided evidences for a role of the Rac1 specific GTPase activating protein FilGAP in this process. Together our work ascribed a new role to the N-terminal repeats of FlnA in Small GTPases regulation and supports a conceptual framework for the role of FlnA mutations in cardiac valve diseases centered around signaling molecules regulating cellular actin cytoskeleton in response to mechanical stress.
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 11/2013; · 4.66 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: In resistance arteries, diameter adjustment in response to pressure changes depends on the vascular cytoskeleton integrity. Serum response factor (SRF) is a dispensable transcription factor for cellular growth, but its role remains unknown in resistance arteries. We hypothesized that SRF is required for appropriate microvascular contraction. METHODS AND RESULTS: We used mice in which SRF was specifically deleted in smooth muscle or endothelial cells, and their control. Myogenic tone and pharmacological contraction was determined in resistance arteries. mRNA and protein expression were assessed by quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) and Western blot. Actin polymerization was determined by confocal microscopy. Stress-activated channel activity was measured by patch clamp. Myogenic tone developing in response to pressure was dramatically decreased by SRF deletion (5.9±2.3%) compared with control (16.3±3.2%). This defect was accompanied by decreases in actin polymerization, filamin A, MLCK and MLC expression level, and stress-activated channel activity and sensitivity in response to pressure. Contractions induced by phenylephrine or U46619 were not modified, despite a higher sensitivity to p38 blockade; this highlights a compensatory pathway, allowing normal receptor-dependent contraction. CONCLUSIONS: This study shows for the first time that SRF has a major part to play in the control of local blood flow via its central role in pressure-induced myogenic tone in resistance arteries.
Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology 12/2012; · 6.34 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cardiac voltage-gated Na+ (Nav) channels are key determinants of action potential waveforms, refractoriness and propagation, and Nav1.5 is the main Nav pore-forming (alpha) subunit in the mammalian heart. Although direct phosphorylation of the Nav1.5 protein has been suggested to modulate various aspects of Nav channel physiology and pathophysiology, native Nav1.5 phosphorylation sites have not been identified. In the experiments here, a mass spectrometry (MS)-based proteomic approach was developed to identify native Nav1.5 phosphorylation sites directly. Using an anti-NavPAN antibody, Nav channel complexes were immunoprecipitated from adult mouse cardiac ventricles. The MS analyses revealed that this antibody immunoprecipitates several Nav alpha subunits in addition to Nav1.5, as well as several previously identified Nav channel associated/regulatory proteins. Label-free comparative and data-driven phosphoproteomic analyses of purified cardiac Nav1.5 protein identified 11 phosphorylation sites, 8 of which are novel. All the phosphorylation sites identified except one in the N-terminus are in the first intracellular linker loop, suggesting critical roles for this region in phosphorylation-dependent cardiac Nav channel regulation. Interestingly, commonly used prediction algorithms did not reliably predict these newly identified in situ phosphorylation sites. Taken together, the results presented provide the first in situ map of basal phosphorylation sites on the mouse cardiac Nav1.5 alpha subunit.
Journal of Proteome Research 10/2012; · 5.06 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We hypothesized that the structure and function of the mature valves is largely dependent upon how these tissues are built during development, and defects in how the valves are built can lead to the pathological progression of a disease phenotype. Thus, we sought to uncover potential developmental origins and mechanistic underpinnings causal to myxomatous mitral valve disease. We focus on how filamin-A, a cytoskeletal binding protein with strong links to human myxomatous valve disease, can function as a regulatory interface to control proper mitral valve development.
Filamin-A-deficient mice exhibit abnormally enlarged mitral valves during foetal life, which progresses to a myxomatous phenotype by 2 months of age. Through expression studies, in silico modelling, 3D morphometry, biochemical studies, and 3D matrix assays, we demonstrate that the inception of the valve disease occurs during foetal life and can be attributed, in part, to a deficiency of interstitial cells to efficiently organize the extracellular matrix (ECM). This ECM organization during foetal valve gestation is due, in part, to molecular interactions between filamin-A, serotonin, and the cross-linking enzyme, transglutaminase-2 (TG2). Pharmacological and genetic perturbations that inhibit serotonin-TG2-filamin-A interactions lead to impaired ECM remodelling and engender progression to a myxomatous valve phenotype.
These findings illustrate a molecular mechanism by which valve interstitial cells, through a serotonin, TG, and filamin-A pathway, regulate matrix organization during foetal valve development. Additionally, these data indicate that disrupting key regulatory interactions during valve development can set the stage for the generation of postnatal myxomatous valve disease.
Cardiovascular research 07/2012; 96(1):109-19. · 5.80 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to describe a new familial cardiac phenotype and to elucidate the electrophysiological mechanism responsible for the disease.
Mutations in several genes encoding ion channels, especially SCN5A, have emerged as the basis for a variety of inherited cardiac arrhythmias.
Three unrelated families comprising 21 individuals affected by multifocal ectopic Purkinje-related premature contractions (MEPPC) characterized by narrow junctional and rare sinus beats competing with numerous premature ventricular contractions with right and/or left bundle branch block patterns were identified.
Dilated cardiomyopathy was identified in 6 patients, atrial arrhythmias were detected in 9 patients, and sudden death was reported in 5 individuals. Invasive electrophysiological studies demonstrated that premature ventricular complexes originated from the Purkinje tissue. Hydroquinidine treatment dramatically decreased the number of premature ventricular complexes. It normalized the contractile function in 2 patients. All the affected subjects carried the c.665G>A transition in the SCN5A gene. Patch-clamp studies of resulting p.Arg222Gln (R222Q) Nav1.5 revealed a net gain of function of the sodium channel, leading, in silico, to incomplete repolarization in Purkinje cells responsible for premature ventricular action potentials. In vitro and in silico studies recapitulated the normalization of the ventricular action potentials in the presence of quinidine.
A new SCN5A-related cardiac syndrome, MEPPC, was identified. The SCN5A mutation leads to a gain of function of the sodium channel responsible for hyperexcitability of the fascicular-Purkinje system. The MEPPC syndrome is responsive to hydroquinidine.
Journal of the American College of Cardiology 07/2012; 60(2):144-56. · 14.09 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Myxomatous dystrophy of the cardiac valves is a heterogeneous group of disorders, including syndromic diseases such as Marfan syndrome and isolated valvular diseases. Mitral valve prolapse, the most common form of this disease, is presumed to affect approximately 2% to 3% of the population and remains one of the most common causes of valvular surgery. During the past years, important effort has been made to better understand the pathophysiological basis of mitral valve prolapse. Autosomal-dominant transmission is the usual inheritance with reduced penetrance and variable expressivity. Three loci have been mapped to chromosomes 16p11-p12, 11p15.4 and 13q31-32, but the underlying genetic defects are not currently known. An X-linked recessive form has been originally described by Monteleone and Fagan in 1969. Starting from one large French family and three smaller other families in which MVP was transmitted with an X-linked pattern, we have been able to identify three filamin A mutations p.Gly288Arg and p.Val711Asp and a 1,944-bp genomic deletion coding for exons 16 to 19. In this review, we describe the genetic, echocardiographic and functional aspects of the filamin-A-related myxomatous mitral valve dystrophy.
Journal of Cardiovascular Translational Research 07/2011; 4(6):748-56. · 3.06 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Voltage-dependent potassium (Kv) channels are tetramers of six transmembrane domain (S1-S6) proteins. Crystallographic data demonstrate that the tetrameric pore (S5-S6) is surrounded by four voltage sensor domains (S1-S4). One key question remains: how do voltage sensors (S4) regulate pore gating? Previous mutagenesis data obtained on the Kv channel KCNQ1 highlighted the critical role of specific residues in both the S4-S5 linker (S4S5(L)) and S6 C terminus (S6(T)). From these data, we hypothesized that S4S5(L) behaves like a ligand specifically interacting with S6(T) and stabilizing the closed state. To test this hypothesis, we designed plasmid-encoded peptides corresponding to portions of S4S5(L) and S6(T) of the voltage-gated potassium channel KCNQ1 and evaluated their effects on the channel activity in the presence and absence of the ancillary subunit KCNE1. We showed that S4S5(L) peptides inhibit KCNQ1, in a reversible and state-dependent manner. S4S5(L) peptides also inhibited a voltage-independent KCNQ1 mutant. This inhibition was competitively prevented by a peptide mimicking S6(T), consistent with S4S5(L) binding to S6(T). Val(254) in S4S5(L) is known to contact Leu(353) in S6(T) when the channel is closed, and mutations of these residues alter the coupling between the two regions. The same mutations introduced in peptides altered their effects, further confirming S4S5(L) binding to S6(T). Our results suggest a mechanistic model in which S4S5(L) acts as a voltage-dependent ligand bound to its receptor on S6 at rest. This interaction locks the channel in a closed state. Upon plasma membrane depolarization, S4 pulls S4S5(L) away from S6(T), allowing channel opening.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 10/2010; 286(1):707-16. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: KCNQ1 osmosensitivity is of physiological and pathophysiological relevance in epithelial and cardiac cells, but the mechanism involved remains elusive. In COS-7 cells expressing the KCNE1-KCNQ1 fusion protein, extracellular hypoosmolarity and hyperosmolarity modify the channel biophysical parameters. These changes are consistent with hypoosmolarity increasing the level of membrane phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate (PIP(2)), which in turn upregulates KCNE1-KCNQ1 channels. We showed that increasing PIP(2) levels with a water-soluble PIP(2) analogue prevented channel upregulation in hypoosmotic condition, suggesting a variation of the channel-PIP(2) interaction during channel osmoregulation. Furthermore, we showed that polyamines and Mg(2+), already known to tonically inhibit KCNQ channels by screening PIP(2) negative charges, are involved in the osmoregulatory process. Indeed, intracellular Mg(2+) removal and polyamines chelation inhibited the channel osmoregulation. Thus, the dilution of those cations during cell swelling might decrease channel inhibition and explain the channel upregulation by hypoosmolarity. To support this idea, we quantified the role of Mg(2+) in the osmodependent channel activity. Direct measurement of intracellular [Mg(2+)] variations during osmotic changes and characterization of the channel Mg(2+) sensitivity showed that Mg(2+) participates significantly to the osmoregulation. Using intracellular solutions that mimic the variation of Mg(2+) and polyamines, we were able to recapitulate the current amplitude variations in response to extracellular osmolarity changes. Altogether, these results support the idea of a modulation of the channel-PIP(2) interactions by Mg(2+) and polyamines during cell volume changes. It is likely that this mechanism applies to other channels that are sensitive to both osmolarity and PIP(2).
The Journal of Physiology 09/2010; 588(Pt 18):3471-83. · 4.38 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate (PIP(2)) is a phospholipid that has been shown to modulate several ion channels, including some voltage-gated channels like Kv11.1 (hERG). From a biophysical perspective, the mechanisms underlying this regulation are not well characterized. From a physiological perspective, it is critical to establish whether the PIP(2) effect is within the physiological concentration range. Using the giant-patch configuration of the patch-clamp technique on COS-7 cells expressing hERG, we confirmed the activating effect of PIP(2). PIP(2) increased the hERG maximal current and concomitantly slowed deactivation. Regarding the molecular mechanism, these increased amplitude and slowed deactivation suggest that PIP(2) stabilizes the channel open state, as it does in KCNE1-KCNQ1. We used kinetic models of hERG to simulate the effects of the phosphoinositide. Simulations strengthened the hypothesis that PIP(2) is more likely stabilizing the channel open state than affecting the voltage sensors. From the physiological aspect, we established that the sensitivity of hERG to PIP(2) comes close to that of KCNE1-KCNQ1 channels, which lies in the range of physiological PIP(2) variations.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Myxoid degeneration of the cardiac valves is a common feature in a heterogeneous group of disorders that includes Marfan syndrome and isolated valvular diseases. Mitral valve prolapse is the most common outcome of these and remains one of the most common indications for valvular surgery. While the etiology of the disease is unknown, recent genetic studies have demonstrated that an X-linked form of familial cardiac valvular dystrophy can be attributed to mutations in the Filamin-A gene. Since these inheritable mutations are present from conception, we hypothesize that filamin-A mutations present at the time of valve morphogenesis lead to dysfunction that progresses postnatally to clinically relevant disease. Therefore, by carefully evaluating genetic factors (such as filamin-A) that play a substantial role in MVP, we can elucidate relevant developmental pathways that contribute to its pathogenesis. In order to understand how developmental expression of a mutant protein can lead to valve disease, the spatio-temporal distribution of filamin-A during cardiac morphogenesis must first be characterized. Although previously thought of as a ubiquitously expressed gene, we demonstrate that filamin-A is robustly expressed in non-myocyte cells throughout cardiac morphogenesis including epicardial and endocardial cells, and mesenchymal cells derived by EMT from these two epithelia, as well as mesenchyme of neural crest origin. In postnatal hearts, expression of filamin-A is significantly decreased in the atrioventricular and outflow tract valve leaflets and their suspensory apparatus. Characterization of the temporal and spatial expression pattern of filamin-A during cardiac morphogenesis is a crucial first step in our understanding of how mutations in filamin-A result in clinically relevant valve disease.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The two components of the cardiac delayed rectifier current have been the subject of numerous studies since firstly described. This current controls the action potential duration and is highly regulated. After identification of the channel subunits underlying IKs, KCNQ1 associated with KCNE1, and IKr, HERG, their involvement in human cardiac channelopathies have provided various models allowing the description of the molecular mechanisms of the KCNQ1 and HERG channels trafficking, activity and regulation. More recently, studies have been focusing on the unveiling of different partners of the pore-forming proteins that contribute to their maturation, trafficking, activity and/or degradation, on one side, and on their respective expression in the heterogeneous cardiac tissue, on the other side. The aim of this review is to report and discuss the major works on IKs and IKr and the most recent ones that help to understand the precise function of these currents in the heart.
Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology 09/2009; 48(1):37-44. · 5.15 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cell-based therapies have great potential for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases. Recently, using a transgenic mouse model Roell et al. reported that cardiac engraftment of connexin43 (Cx43)-overexpressing myoblasts in vivo prevents post-infarct arrhythmia, a common cause of death in patients following heart attack. We carried out a similar study but in a clinically relevant context via transplantation of autologous connexin43-overexpressing myoblasts in infarcted rats. Seven days after coronary ligation, rats were randomized into three groups: a control group injected with myoblasts, a null group injected with myoblasts transduced with an empty lentivirus vector (null) and a Cx43 group injected with myoblasts transduced with a lentivirus vector encoding connexin43. In contrast to Roell's report, arrhythmia occurrence was not statistically different between groups (58%, 64% and 48% for the control (n= 12), null (n= 14) and Cx43 (n= 23) groups, respectively, P= 0.92). Using ex vivo intramural monophasic action potential recordings synchronous electrical activity was observed between connexin43-overexpressing myoblasts and host cardiomyocytes, whereas such synchrony did not occur in the null-transduced group. This suggests that ex vivo connexin43 gene transfer and expression in myoblasts improved intercellular electrical coupling between myoblasts and cardiomyocytes. However, in our model such electrical coupling was not sufficient to decrease arrhythmia induction. Therefore, we would suggest a note of caution on the use of combined Cx43 gene and cell therapy to prevent post-infarct arrhythmias in heart failure patients.
Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine 04/2009; 13(9B):3703-12. · 4.75 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mutations in the potassium channel KCNQ1 that determine retention of the mutated proteins in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) are associated with the autosomal dominant negative Romano-Ward LQT1 cardiac syndrome. In the present study, we have analyzed the consequences and the potential molecular mechanisms involved in the ER retention of three Romano-Ward mutations located in KCNQ1 N terminus (Y111C, L114P, and P117L). We showed that the mutant KCNQ1 proteins exhibited reduced expression levels with respect to wild-type (WT)-KCNQ1. Radiolabeling pulse-chase experiments revealed that the lower expression levels did not result from reduced rate of synthesis. Instead, using a combination of Western blot and pulse-chase experiments, we showed that the mutant channel Y111C-KCNQ1, used as a model, was ubiquitinated and degraded in the proteasome more rapidly (t((1/2)) = 82 min) than WT-KCNQ1 channel (t((1/2)) = 113 min). On the other hand, KCNQ1 degradation did not appear to involve the GTP-dependent pathway. We also showed that KCNE1 stabilized both wild-type and Y111C proteins. To identify potential actors involved in KCNQ1 degradation, we studied the implication of the ER-resident protein Derlin-1 in KCNQ1 degradation. We showed that although KCNQ1 and Derlin-1 share the same molecular complex and co-immunoprecipitate when co-expressed in HEK293FT cells, Derlin-1 did not affect KCNQ1 steady state expression and degradation. These data were confirmed in T84 cells that express endogenous KCNQ1 and Derlin-1. Small interfering RNA knock-down of Derlin-1 did not modify KCNQ1 expression level, and no interaction between endogenous KCNQ1 and Derlin-1 could be detected.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 01/2009; 284(8):5250-6. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Physical and emotional stress is accompanied by release of stress hormones such as the glucocorticoid cortisol. This hormone upregulates the serum- and glucocorticoid-inducible kinase (SGK)1, which in turn stimulates I(Ks), a slow delayed rectifier potassium current that mediates cardiac action potential repolarization. Mutations in I(Ks) channel alpha (KCNQ1, KvLQT1, Kv7.1) or beta (KCNE1, IsK, minK) subunits cause long QT syndrome (LQTS), an inherited cardiac arrhythmia associated with increased risk of sudden death. Together with the GTPases RAB5 and RAB11, SGK1 facilitates membrane recycling of KCNQ1 channels. Here, we show altered SGK1-dependent regulation of LQTS-associated mutant I(Ks) channels. Whereas some mutant KCNQ1 channels had reduced basal activity but were still activated by SGK1, currents mediated by KCNQ1(Y111C) or KCNQ1(L114P) were paradoxically reduced by SGK1. Heteromeric channels coassembled of wild-type KCNQ1 and the LQTS-associated KCNE1(D76N) mutant were similarly downregulated by SGK1 because of a disrupted RAB11-dependent recycling. Mutagenesis experiments indicate that stimulation of I(Ks) channels by SGK1 depends on residues H73, N75, D76, and P77 in KCNE1. Identification of the I(Ks) recycling pathway and its modulation by stress-stimulated SGK1 provides novel mechanistic insight into potentially fatal cardiac arrhythmias triggered by physical or psychological stress.
Circulation Research 12/2008; 103(12):1451-7. · 11.86 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: KCNQ1 (alias KvLQT1 or Kv7.1) and KCNE1 (alias IsK or minK) co-assemble to form the voltage-activated K(+) channel responsible for I(Ks)-a major repolarizing current in the human heart-and their dysfunction promotes cardiac arrhythmias. The channel is a component of larger macromolecular complexes containing known and undefined regulatory proteins. Thus, identification of proteins that modulate its biosynthesis, localization, activity, and/or degradation is of great interest from both a physiological and pathological point of view.
Using a yeast two-hybrid screening, we detected a direct interaction between beta-tubulin and the KCNQ1 N-terminus. The interaction was confirmed by co-immunoprecipitation of beta-tubulin and KCNQ1 in transfected COS-7 cells and in guinea pig cardiomyocytes. Using immunocytochemistry, we also found that they co-localized in cardiomyocytes. We tested the effects of microtubule-disrupting and -stabilizing agents (colchicine and taxol, respectively) on the KCNQ1-KCNE1 channel activity in COS-7 cells by means of the permeabilized-patch configuration of the patch-clamp technique. None of these agents altered I(Ks). In addition, colchicine did not modify the current response to osmotic challenge. On the other hand, the I(Ks) response to protein kinase A (PKA)-mediated stimulation depended on microtubule polymerization in COS-7 cells and in cardiomyocytes. Strikingly, KCNQ1 channel and Yotiao phosphorylation by PKA-detected by phospho-specific antibodies-was maintained, as was the association of the two partners.
We propose that the KCNQ1-KCNE1 channel directly interacts with microtubules and that this interaction plays a major role in coupling PKA-dependent phosphorylation of KCNQ1 with I(Ks) activation.
Cardiovascular Research 05/2008; 79(3):427-35. · 5.94 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: KCNQ1 is the pore-forming subunit of a channel complex whose expression and function have been rather well characterized in the heart. Almost 300 mutations of KCNQ1 have been identified in patients and a vast majority of the described mutations are linked to the long QT syndrome. Only a few mutations are linked to other pathologies such as atrial fibrillation and the short QT syndrome. However, a considerable amount of work remains to be done to get a clear picture of the molecular mechanisms responsible for the pathogenesis related to each mutation. The present review gives three examples of recent studies towards this goal and illustrates the diversity of the molecular mechanisms involved.
The Journal of Physiology 05/2008; 586(7):1785-9. · 4.38 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In cystic fibrosis (CF), the DeltaF508-CFTR anterograde trafficking from the endoplasmic reticulum to the plasma membrane is inefficient. New strategies for increasing the delivery of DeltaF508-CFTR to the apical membranes are thus pathophysiologically relevant targets to study for CF treatment. Recent studies have demonstrated that PDZ-containing proteins play an essential role in determining polarized plasma membrane expression of ionic transporters. In the present study we have hypothesized that the PDZ-containing protein NHE-RF1, which binds to the carboxy terminus of CFTR, rescues DeltaF508-CFTR expression in the apical membrane of epithelial cells. The plasmids encoding DeltaF508-CFTR and NHE-RF1 were intranuclearly injected in A549 or Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells, and DeltaF508-CFTR channel activity was functionally assayed using SPQ fluorescent probe. Cells injected with DeltaF508-CFTR alone presented a low chloride channel activity, whereas its coexpression with NHE-RF1 significantly increased both the basal and forskolin-activated chloride conductances. This last effect was lost with DeltaF508-CFTR deleted of its 13 last amino acids or by injection of a specific NHE-RF1 antisense oligonucleotide, but not by NHE-RF1 sense oligonucleotide. Immunocytochemical analysis performed in MDCK cells transiently transfected with DeltaF508-CFTR further revealed that NHE-RF1 specifically determined the apical plasma membrane expression of DeltaF508-CFTR but not that of a trafficking defective mutant potassium channel (KCNQ1). These data demonstrate that the modulation of the expression level of CFTR protein partners, like NHE-RF1, can rescue DeltaF508-CFTR activity.