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FEBS J. 2013 Sep;280(18):4407-16. doi: 10.1111/febs.12422. Epub 2013 Jul 25.

Structural changes of CFTR R region upon phosphorylation: a plastic platform for intramolecular and intermolecular interactions.

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Program in Molecular Structure and Function, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Chloride channel gating and trafficking of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) are regulated by phosphorylation. Intrinsically disordered segments of the protein are responsible for phospho-regulation, particularly the regulatory (R) region that is a target for several kinases and phosphatases. The R region remains disordered following phosphorylation, with different phosphorylation states sampling various conformations. Recent studies have demonstrated the crucial role that intramolecular and intermolecular interactions of the R region play in CFTR regulation. Different partners compete for the same binding segment, with the R region containing multiple overlapping binding elements. The non-phosphorylated R region interacts with the nucleotide binding domains and inhibits channel activity by blocking heterodimerization. Phosphorylation shifts the equilibrium such that the R region is excluded from the dimer interface, facilitating gating and processing by stimulating R region interactions with other domains and proteins. The dynamic conformational sampling and transient binding of the R region to multiple partners enables complex control of CFTR channel activity and trafficking.


IDP; binding; disordered; hub; post-translational modification; regulation

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