We have been investigating the functional consequences of rare disease-associated amino acid substitutions in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR). Mutations of the arginine residue at codon 1070 have been associated with different disease consequences; R1070P and R1070Q with "severe" pancreatic insufficient cystic fibrosis (CF) and R1070W with "mild" pancreatic sufficient CF or congenital bilateral absence of the vas deferens. Intriguingly, CFTR bearing each of these mutations is functional when expressed in nonpolarized cells. To determine whether R1070 mutations cause disease by affecting CFTR localization, we created polarized Madin Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cell lines that express either wild-type or mutant CFTR from the same genomic integration site. Confocal microscopy and biotinylation studies revealed that R1070P was not inserted into the apical membrane, R1070W was inserted at levels reduced from wild-type while R1070Q was present in the apical membrane at levels comparable to wild-type. The abnormal localization of CFTR bearing R1070P and R1070W was consistent with deleterious consequences in patients; however, the profile of CFTR R1070Q was inconsistent with a "severe" phenotype. Reanalysis of 16 patients with the R1070Q mutation revealed that 11 carried an in cis nonsense mutation, S466X. All 11 patients carrying the complex allele R1070Q-S466X had severe disease, while 4 out of 5 patients with R1070Q had "mild" disease, thereby reconciling the apparent discrepancy between the localization studies of R1070Q and the phenotype of patients bearing this mutation. Our results emphasize that localization studies in relevant model systems can greatly assist the interpretation of the disease-causing potential of rare missense mutations.
- Complex allele
- Cystic fibrosis
- Polarized cells
- Recombinase-mediated integration
ASJC Scopus subject areas