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Cell. 2017 Mar 23;169(1):85-95.e8. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2017.02.024.

Molecular Structure of the Human CFTR Ion Channel.

Author information

1
Laboratory of Membrane Biophysics and Biology, The Rockefeller University, 1230 York Avenue, New York, NY 10065, USA; Tri-Institutional Training Program in Chemical Biology, The Rockefeller University, 1230 York Avenue, New York, NY 10065, USA.
2
Laboratory of Membrane Biophysics and Biology, The Rockefeller University, 1230 York Avenue, New York, NY 10065, USA; Howard Hughes Medical Institute, 4000 Jones Bridge Road, Chevy Chase, MD 20815, USA.
3
Department of Medical Biochemistry and MTA-SE Ion Channel Research Group, Semmelweis University, Budapest 1094, Hungary.
4
Laboratory of Cardiac/Membrane Physiology, The Rockefeller University, 1230 York Avenue, New York, NY 10065, USA.
5
Laboratory of Membrane Biophysics and Biology, The Rockefeller University, 1230 York Avenue, New York, NY 10065, USA; Howard Hughes Medical Institute, 4000 Jones Bridge Road, Chevy Chase, MD 20815, USA. Electronic address: juechen@rockefeller.edu.

Abstract

The cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) is an ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter that uniquely functions as an ion channel. Here, we present a 3.9 Å structure of dephosphorylated human CFTR without nucleotides, determined by electron cryomicroscopy (cryo-EM). Close resemblance of this human CFTR structure to zebrafish CFTR under identical conditions reinforces its relevance for understanding CFTR function. The human CFTR structure reveals a previously unresolved helix belonging to the R domain docked inside the intracellular vestibule, precluding channel opening. By analyzing the sigmoid time course of CFTR current activation, we propose that PKA phosphorylation of the R domain is enabled by its infrequent spontaneous disengagement, which also explains residual ATPase and gating activity of dephosphorylated CFTR. From comparison with MRP1, a feature distinguishing CFTR from all other ABC transporters is the helix-loop transition in transmembrane helix 8, which likely forms the structural basis for CFTR's channel function.

KEYWORDS:

ABC transporter; anion channel; cryo-EM; human CFTR

PMID:
28340353
DOI:
10.1016/j.cell.2017.02.024
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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