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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1995 Jul 18;92(15):6832-6.

Two cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator mutations have different effects on both pulmonary phenotype and regulation of outwardly rectified chloride currents.

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Center for Medical Genetics, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA.


Cystic fibrosis (CF), a disorder of electrolyte transport manifest in the lungs, pancreas, sweat duct, and vas deferens, is caused by mutations in the CF transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR). The CFTR protein has been shown to function as a cAMP-activated chloride channel and also regulates a separate protein, the outwardly rectifying chloride channel (ORCC). To determine the consequence of disease-producing mutations upon these functions, mutant CFTR was transiently expressed in Xenopus oocytes and in human airway epithelial cells lacking functional CFTR. Both G551D, a mutation that causes severe lung disease, and A455E, a mutation associated with mild lung disease, altered but did not abolish CFTR's function as a chloride channel in Xenopus oocytes. Airway epithelial cells transfected with CFTR bearing either A455E or G551D had levels of chloride conductance significantly greater than those of mock-transfected and lower than those of wild-type CFTR-transfected cells, as measured by chloride efflux. A combination of channel blockers and analysis of current-voltage relationships were used to dissect the contribution of CFTR and the ORCC to whole cell currents of transfected cells. While CFTR bearing either mutation could function as a chloride channel, only CFTR bearing A455E retained the function of regulating the ORCC. These results indicate that CF mutations can affect CFTR functions differently and suggest that severity of pulmonary disease may be more closely associated with the regulatory rather than chloride channel function of CFTR.

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