Degradation of CFTR by the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway

Cell. 1995 Oct 6;83(1):121-7. doi: 10.1016/0092-8674(95)90240-6.


Most cases of cystic fibrosis are caused by mutations that interfere with the biosynthetic folding of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR), leading to the rapid degradation of CFTR molecules that have not matured beyond the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). The mechanism by which integral membrane proteins including CFTR are recognized and targeted for ER degradation and the proteolytic machinery involved in this process are not well understood. We show here that the degradation of both wild-type and mutant CFTR is inhibited by two potent proteasome inhibitors that induce the accumulation of polyubiquitinated forms of immature CFTR. CFTR degradation was also inhibited by coexpression of a dominant negative ubiquitin mutant and in cells bearing a temperature-sensitive mutation in the ubiquitin-activating enzyme, confirming that ubiquitination is required for rapid CFTR degradation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cysteine Endopeptidases / metabolism*
  • Cystic Fibrosis / genetics
  • Cystic Fibrosis / metabolism*
  • Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator / genetics
  • Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator / isolation & purification
  • Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator / metabolism*
  • DNA, Complementary / genetics
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Multienzyme Complexes / metabolism*
  • Protease Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex
  • Protein Folding
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational* / drug effects
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / metabolism
  • Solubility
  • Temperature
  • Ubiquitins / metabolism*


  • CFTR protein, human
  • DNA, Complementary
  • Multienzyme Complexes
  • Protease Inhibitors
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Ubiquitins
  • Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator
  • Cysteine Endopeptidases
  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex