Identification of the amino acids inserted during suppression of CFTR nonsense mutations and determination of their functional consequences

Academic Article


  • In-frame premature termination codons (PTCs) account for ~11% of all disease-associated mutations. PTC suppression therapy utilizes small molecules that suppress translation termination at a PTC to restore synthesis of a full-length protein. PTC suppression is mediated by the base pairing of a near-cognate aminoacyl-tRNA with a PTC and subsequently, the amino acid becomes incorporated into the nascent polypeptide at the site of the PTC. However, little is known about the identity of the amino acid(s) inserted at a PTC during this process in mammalian cells, or how the surrounding sequence context influences amino acid incorporation. Here, we determined the amino acids inserted at the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) W1282X PTC (a UGA codon) in the context of its three upstream and downstreamCFTR codons during G418-mediated suppression. We found that leucine, cysteine and tryptophan are inserted during W1282X suppression. Interestingly, these amino acids (and their proportions) are significantly different from those recently identified following G418-mediated suppression of the CFTR G542X UGA mutation. These results demonstrate for the first time that local mRNA sequence context plays a key role in near-cognate aminoacyl-tRNA selection during PTC suppression. We also found that some variant CFTR proteins generated by PTC suppression exhibit reduced maturation and activity, indicating the complexity of nonsense suppression therapy. However, both a CFTR corrector and potentiator enhanced activity of protein variants generated by G418-mediated suppression. These results suggest that PTC suppression in combination with CFTR modulators may be beneficial for the treatment of CF patients with PTCs.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Xue X; Mutyam V; Thakerar A; Mobley J; Bridges RJ; Rowe SM; Keeling KM; Bedwell DM
  • Start Page

  • 3116
  • End Page

  • 3129
  • Volume

  • 26
  • Issue

  • 16