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Biochemistry. 1997 Sep 30;36(39):11966-74.

Disease-associated mutations in cytoplasmic loops 1 and 2 of cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator impede processing or opening of the channel.

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Medical Research Council Group in Membrane Biology, Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 1A8.


Since little is known about the contribution to function of the N-terminal cytoplasmic loops (CL1, residues 139-194; CL2, residues 242-307) of cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR), all nine point mutations identified in CLs 1 and 2 from patients with cystic fibrosis were reconstructed in the expression vector pcDNA3-CFTR and expressed transiently in COS-1 and HEK-293 cells and stably in Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells. Four amino acid substitutions retarded production of mature, fully glycosylated CFTR, suggesting that misprocessing of the channel causes the disease symptoms in the affected patients. Protein maturation could not be promoted by cell culture conditions of reduced temperature (26 degrees C). When properly processed mutants were evaluated for functional defects by the iodide efflux method, the G178R- and E193K-CFTR-expressing cell lines showed impaired anion translocation activities. Patch-clamp studies of single channels revealed that E193K variants had a significantly decreased open probability, which resulted from an increase in the mean closed time of the channels. This contrasted with a previous study of disease-associated point mutations in CL3 that mainly affected the mean open time. None of the maturation-competent CL 1 and 2 mutants had altered conductance. Thus, the N-terminal CLs appear not to contribute to the anion translocation pathway of CFTR; rather, mutations in CL1 can impede transition to the open state. Interestingly, the ability of the non-hydrolyzable ATP analogue adenylyl imidodiphosphate (AMP-PNP) to lock the channel into open bursts was abolished by the I148T and G178R amino acid substitutions.

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