Correction of the F508del-CFTR protein processing defect in vitro by the investigational drug VX-809

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Nov 15;108(46):18843-8. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1105787108. Epub 2011 Oct 5.


Cystic fibrosis (CF) is caused by mutations in the CF transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene that impair the function of CFTR, an epithelial chloride channel required for proper function of the lung, pancreas, and other organs. Most patients with CF carry the F508del CFTR mutation, which causes defective CFTR protein folding and processing in the endoplasmic reticulum, resulting in minimal amounts of CFTR at the cell surface. One strategy to treat these patients is to correct the processing of F508del-CFTR with small molecules. Here we describe the in vitro pharmacology of VX-809, a CFTR corrector that was advanced into clinical development for the treatment of CF. In cultured human bronchial epithelial cells isolated from patients with CF homozygous for F508del, VX-809 improved F508del-CFTR processing in the endoplasmic reticulum and enhanced chloride secretion to approximately 14% of non-CF human bronchial epithelial cells (EC(50), 81 ± 19 nM), a level associated with mild CF in patients with less disruptive CFTR mutations. F508del-CFTR corrected by VX-809 exhibited biochemical and functional characteristics similar to normal CFTR, including biochemical susceptibility to proteolysis, residence time in the plasma membrane, and single-channel open probability. VX-809 was more efficacious and selective for CFTR than previously reported CFTR correctors. VX-809 represents a class of CFTR corrector that specifically addresses the underlying processing defect in F508del-CFTR.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aminopyridines / therapeutic use*
  • Benzodioxoles / therapeutic use*
  • Bronchi / cytology
  • Cell Line
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chemistry, Pharmaceutical / methods
  • Chlorides / chemistry
  • Cystic Fibrosis / drug therapy*
  • Cystic Fibrosis / genetics
  • Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator / genetics*
  • Drug Design
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Epithelial Cells / cytology
  • Homozygote
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Lung / pathology
  • Models, Genetic
  • Mutation*


  • Aminopyridines
  • Benzodioxoles
  • CFTR protein, human
  • Chlorides
  • cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator delta F508
  • Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator
  • lumacaftor