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FASEB J. 2013 Nov;27(11):4630-45. doi: 10.1096/fj.13-227330. Epub 2013 Aug 1.

The silent codon change I507-ATC->ATT contributes to the severity of the ΔF508 CFTR channel dysfunction.

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  • 12Department of Cell, Developmental, and Integrative Biology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 1918 University Blvd., MCLM 350A, Birmingham, AL 35294, USA.


The most common disease-causing mutation in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene is the out-of-frame deletion of 3 nucleotides (CTT). This mutation leads to the loss of phenylalanine-508 (ΔF508) and a silent codon change (SCC) for isoleucine-507 (I507-ATC→ATT). ΔF508 CFTR is misfolded and degraded by endoplasmic reticulum-associated degradation (ERAD). We have demonstrated that the I507-ATC→ATT SCC alters ΔF508 CFTR mRNA structure and translation dynamics. By comparing the biochemical and functional properties of the I507-ATT and I507-ATC ΔF508 CFTR, we establish that the I507-ATC→ATT SCC contributes to the cotranslational misfolding, ERAD, and to the functional defects associated with ΔF508 CFTR. We demonstrate that the I507-ATC ΔF508 CFTR is less susceptible to the ER quality-control machinery during translation than the I507-ATT, although 27°C correction is necessary for sufficient cell-surface expression. Whole-cell patch-clamp recordings indicate sustained, thermally stable cAMP-activated Cl(-) transport through I507-ATC and unstable function of the I507-ATT ΔF508 CFTR. Single-channel recordings reveal improved gating properties of the I507-ATC compared to I507-ATT ΔF508 CFTR (NPo=0.45±0.037 vs. NPo=0.09±0.002; P<0.001). Our results signify the role of the I507-ATC→ATT SCC in the ΔF508 CFTR defects and support the importance of synonymous codon choices in determining the function of gene products.


ABC protein; channel gating; cotranslational folding; patch-clamp; sSNP; single-nucleotide polymorphism

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