Cystic fibrosis (CF), a lethal monogenic disease, is caused by mutant variants of the CF transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR). Recent advances in single molecule cryo-EM methods enabled structural determination of full-length human and zebrafish CFTR, achieving an important milestone for CF drug development. To relate these structures to the gating cycle, we examined its dynamic features using molecular dynamics simulations. Our results show that the nucleotide binding domains (NBDs) in this bottom-open apo conformation exhibit motions related to dimerization and the bottom-closed apo CFTR model indicates opening of NBDs in contrast to transporters. These observations help in understanding the properties of CFTR chloride channel distinct from transporters and in proper interpretation of available structural information on this ABC protein.
Keywords: CFTR; Computational biology; Cystic fibrosis; Molecular dynamics; Transmembrane protein structure.
Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.