The CFTR (cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator) gene, defective in cystic fibrosis, codes for a polytopic apical membrane protein functioning as a chloride channel. Wild-type (wt) CFTR matures inefficiently and CFTR with a deletion of Phe-508 (F508del), the most frequent mutation, is substantially retained as a core-glycosylated intermediate in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), probably due to misfolding that is recognized by the cellular quality control machinery involving molecular chaperones. Here, we overexpressed the heat-shock protein (Hsp) 70 chaperone in vivo and observed no changes in degradation rate of the core-glycosylated form, nor in the efficiency of its conversion into the fully glycosylated form, for either wt- or F508del-CFTR, contrary to previous in vitro studies on the affect of heat-shock cognate (Hsc) 70 on part of the first nucleotide-binding domain of CFTR. Co-transfection of Hsp70 with its co-chaperone human DnaJ homologue (Hdj)-1/Hsp40, however, stabilizes the immature form of wt-CFTR, but not of F508del-CFTR, suggesting that these chaperones act on a wt-specific conformation. As the efficiency of conversion into the fully glycosylated form is not increased under Hsp70/Hdj-1 overexpression, the lack of these two chaperones does not seem to be critical for CFTR maturation and ER retention. The effects of 4-phenylbutyrate and deoxyspergualin, described previously to interfere with Hsp70 binding, were also tested upon CFTR degradation and processing. The sole effect observed was destabilization of F508del-CFTR.
- Endoplasmic reticulum-associated degradation