Experimental approach. Using CFTR-expressing recombinant cells and CF patient-derived bronchial epithelial cells, we studied CFTR expression by Western blotting and channel gating and stability with the patch-clamp and Ussing chamber techniques.
Key results. Chronic treatment with CFFT-004 improved modestly F508del-CFTR processing, but not its plasma membrane stability. By contrast, CFFT-004 rescued F508del-CFTR channel gating better than C18, an analogue of the clinically-used CFTR corrector lumacaftor. Subsequent acute addition of CFFT-004, but not C18, potentiated F508del-CFTR channel gating. However, CFFT-004 was without effect on A561E-CFTR, a CF mutation with a comparable mechanism of CFTR dysfunction as F508del-CFTR. To investigate the mechanism of action of CFFT-004, we used F508del-CFTR revertant mutations. Potentiation by CFFT-004 was unaffected by revertant mutations, but correction was abolished by the revertant mutation G550E. These data suggest that correction, but not potentiation by CFFT-004 might involve nucleotide-binding domain 1 of CFTR.
Conclusions and implications. CFFT-004 is a dual-acting small molecule with independent corrector and potentiator activities that partially rescues F508del-CFTR in recombinant cells and native airway epithelia. The limited efficacy and potency of CFFT-004 suggests that combinations of small molecules targeting different defects in F508del-CFTR might be a more effective therapeutic strategy than a single agent.
- ATP-binding cassette transporter
- chloride ion channel
- cystic fibrosis
- CFTR processing
- channel gating
- revertant mutations
- CFTR corrector-potentiator (dual-acting small molecule)