Dexamethasone Regulates CFTR Expression in Calu-3 Cells with the Involvement of Chaperones HSP70 and HSP90

Luiz Felipe M. Prota, Liudmila Cebotaru, Jie Cheng, Jerry Wright, Neeraj Vij, Marcelo M. Morales, William B. Guggino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Dexamethasone is widely used for pulmonary exacerbation in patients with cystic fibrosis, however, not much is known about the effects of glucocorticoids on the wild-type cystic fibrosis channel transmembrane regulator (CFTR). Our aim was to determine the effects of dexamethasone treatment on wild-type CFTR expression. Methods and Results: Dose-response (1 nM to 10 μM) and time course (3 to 48 h) curves were generated for dexamethasone for mRNA expression in Calu-3 cells using a real-time PCR. Within 24 h, dexamethasone (10 nM) showed a 0.3-fold decrease in CFTR mRNA expression, and a 3.2-fold increase in αENaC mRNA expression compared with control groups. Dexamethasone (10 nM) induced a 1.97-fold increase in the total protein of wild-type CFTR, confirmed by inhibition by mifepristone. To access surface protein expression, biotinylation followed by Western blotting showed that dexamethasone treatment led to a 2.35-fold increase in the amount of CFTR in the cell surface compared with the untreated control groups. Once protein translation was inhibited with cycloheximide, dexamethasone could not increase the amount of CFTR protein. Protein stability was assessed by inhibition of protein synthesis with cycloheximide (50 μg/ml) at different times in cells treated with dexamethasone and in untreated cells. Dexamethasone did not alter the degradation of wild-type CFTR. Assessment of the B band of CFTR within 15 min of metabolic pulse labeling showed a 1.5-fold increase in CFTR protein after treatment with dexamethasone for 24 h. Chaperone 90 (HSP90) binding to CFTR increased 1.55-fold after treatment with dexamethasone for 24 h, whereas chaperone 70 (HSP70) binding decreased 0.30 fold in an immunoprecipitation assay. Conclusion: Mature wild-type CFTR protein is regulated by dexamethasone post transcription, involving cotranslational mechanisms with HSP90 and HSP70, which enhances maturation and expression of wild-type CFTR.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere47405
JournalPloS one
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 13 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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