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Exp Physiol. 1996 May;81(3):505-14.

Role of the actin cytoskeleton in the regulation of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator.

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  • 1Renal Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital East, Charlestown 02129, USA.


The anion-selective channel CFTR (cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator), whose dysfunction is responsible for the onset of cystic fibrosis, is regulated by cAMP through the activation of protein kinase A (PKA). The nature of this activation process is unknown. In the present study, patch-clamp techniques were applied to both mouse mammary adenocarcinoma cells expressing human epithelial CFTR (CFTR cells) and cultured neonatal rat ventricular myocytes (NRVM), to determine whether CFTR is modulated by the actin cytoskeleton, and whether the actin cytoskeleton may be implicated in the cAMP-stimulated activation of the channel protein. Acute changes in the actin cytoskeleton by addition of cytochalasin D (CD) activated whole-cell currents in CFTR cells and NRVM. Addition of actin to excised, inside-out patches also activated CFTR. A functional characterization of CFTR in either cell type included cAMP-induced, linear whole-cell and single-channel currents in symmetrical Cl-, permeability to ATP, and inhibition by either diphenylamine-carboxylate (DPC) or a monoclonal antibody raised against CFTR. Incubation of CFTR cells and NRVM with CD for over 6 h prevented CFTR activation either by the cAMP pathway under whole-cell conditions or by PKA under excised inside-out conditions. Thus a complete derangement of the actin cytoskeleton prevents the cAMP-dependent activation of CFTR. CFTR activation, however, was restored by subsequent addition of actin. In summary, changes in actin filament organization modulate CFTR channel activity by a mechanism entailing a direct interaction between actin filaments and CFTR.

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