Substitution of Yor1p NBD1 residues improves the thermal stability of human cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator

Academic Article


  • © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press. A. The Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator (CFTR) is a plasma membrane chloride channel protein that regulates vertebrate fluid homeostasis. The inefficiency of wild type human CFTR protein folding/trafficking is exacerbated by genetic mutations that can cause protein misfold-ing in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and subsequent degradation. This project investigates small changes in protein sequence that can alter the thermal stability of the large multi-domain CFTR protein. We target a conserved 70-residue α-subdomain located in the first nucleotide-binding domain that hosts the common misfolding mutation ΔF508. To investigate substitutions that can stabilize this domain, we constructed chimeras between human CFTR and its closest yeast homolog Yor1p. The α-subdomain of Yor1p was replaced with that of CFTR in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Cellular localization of green fluorescence protein-tagged Yor1p-CFTR chimeras was analyzed by fluorescence microscopy and quantitative multispectral imaging flow cytometry, steady-state protein levels were compared by SDS-PAGE and protein function probed by a phenotypic oligomycin resistance assay. The chimeras exhibited ER retention in yeast characteristic of defective protein folding/processing. Substitution of seven CFTR α-subdomain residues that are highly conserved in Yor1p and other transporters but differ in CFTR (S495P/R516K/F533L/A534P/K536G/I539T/R553K) improved Yor1p-CFTR chimera localization to the yeast plasma membrane. When introduced into human CFTR expressed in mammalian cells, the same substitutions improve the purified protein thermal stability. This stabilized human CFTR protein will be directly useful for structural and biophysical studies that have been limited by the thermal sensitivity of wild type CFTR. The insights into critical structural residues within CFTR could facilitate development of effective therapeutics for CF-causing mutations.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Xavier BM; Hildebrandt E; Jiang F; Ding H; Kappes JC; Urbatsch IL
  • Start Page

  • 729
  • End Page

  • 741
  • Volume

  • 30
  • Issue

  • 10