CFTR is a conductance regulator as well as a chloride channel

Erik M. Schwiebert, Dale J. Benos, Marie E. Egan, M. Jackson Stutts, William B Guggino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) is a member of the ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter gene family. Although CFTR has the structure of a transporter that transports substrates across the membrane in a nonconductive manner, CFTR also has the intrinsic ability to conduct Cl- at much higher rates, a function unique to CFTR among this family of ABC transporters. Because Cl- transport was shown to be lost in cystic fibrosis (CF) epithelia long before the cloning of the CF gene and CFTR, CFTR Cl- channel function was considered to be paramount. Another equally valid perspective of CFTR, however, derives from its membership in a family of transporters that transports a multitude of different substances from chemotherapeutic drugs, to amino acids, to glutathione conjugates, to small peptides in a nonconductive manner. Moreover, at least two members of this ABC transporter family (mdr-1, SUR) can regulate other ion channels in the membrane. More simply, ABC transporters can regulate somehow the function of other cellular proteins or cellular functions. This review focuses on a plethora of studies showing that CFTR also regulates other ion channel proteins. It is the hope of the authors that the reader will take with him or her the message that CFTR is a conductance regulator as well as a Cl- channel.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPhysiological Reviews
Issue number1 SUPPL. 1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1999
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology

Cite this

Schwiebert, E. M., Benos, D. J., Egan, M. E., Stutts, M. J., & Guggino, W. B. (1999). CFTR is a conductance regulator as well as a chloride channel. Physiological Reviews, 79(1 SUPPL. 1).