The cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) is a unique ion channel in that its gating is coupled to an intrinsic enzymatic activity (ATP hydrolysis). This enzymatic activity derives from the evolutionary origin of CFTR as an ATP-binding cassette transporter. CFTR gating is distinct from that of a typical ligand-gated channel because its ligand (ATP) is usually consumed during the gating cycle. However, recent findings indicate that CFTR gating exhibits allosteric properties that are common to conventional ligand-gated channels (e.g. unliganded openings and constitutive mutations). Here, we provide a unified view of CFTR gating that combines the allosterism of a ligand-gated channel with its unique enzymatic activity. © 2011 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.