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Nat Med. 2002 May;8(5):485-92.

Calcium-pump inhibitors induce functional surface expression of Delta F508-CFTR protein in cystic fibrosis epithelial cells.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, USA.


The most common mutation in cystic fibrosis, Delta F508, results in a cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) protein that is retained in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Retention is dependent upon chaperone proteins, many of which require Ca(++) for optimal activity. Interfering with chaperone activity by depleting ER Ca(++) stores might allow functional Delta F508-CFTR to reach the cell surface. We exposed several cystic fibrosis cell lines to the ER Ca(++) pump inhibitor thapsigargin and evaluated surface expression of Delta F508-CFTR. Treatment released ER-retained Delta F508-CFTR to the plasma membrane, where it functioned effectively as a Cl(-) channel. Treatment with aerosolized calcium-pump inhibitors reversed the nasal epithelial potential defect observed in a mouse model of Delta F508-CFTR expression. Thus, ER calcium-pump inhibitors represent a potential target for correcting the cystic fibrosis defect.

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