Rescuing cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CHR)-processing mutants by transcomplementation

Academic Article


  • Most cases of cystic fibrosis (CF) are caused by mutations that block the biosynthetic maturation of the CF gene product, the CF transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) chloride channel. CFTR-processing mutants fail to escape the endoplasmic reticulum and are rapidly degraded. Current efforts to induce the maturation of CFTR mutants target components of the biosynthetic pathway (e.g., chaperones) rather than CFTR per se. Such methods are inherently nonspecific. Here we show that the most common CF-causing mutant (ΔF508-CFTR) can form mature, functional chloride channels that reach the cell surface when coexpressed with several other CFTR-processing mutants or with amino fragments of the wild-type CFTR protein. This transcomplementation effect required a specific match between the region flanking the disease-causing mutation and the complementing fragment; e.g., amino fragments complemented ΔF508-CFTR but not H1085R (a carboxy-processing mutant), whereas a carboxy fragment complemented H1085R but not ΔF508-CFTR. Transcomplementing fragments did not affect CFTR interactions with Hsc70, a chaperone previously implicated in CFTR biosynthesis. Instead, they may promote CFTR maturation by blocking nonproductive interactions between domains within the same or neighboring CFTR polypeptides that prevent normal processing. These findings indicate that it may be possible to develop CF therapies (e.g., mini-cDNA constructs for gene therapy) that are tailored to specific disease-causing mutants of CFTR.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Cormet-Boyaka E; Jablonsky M; Naren AP; Jackson PL; Muccio DD; Kirk KL
  • Start Page

  • 8221
  • End Page

  • 8226
  • Volume

  • 101
  • Issue

  • 21