CFTR: What's It Like Inside the Pore?

Xuehong Liu, Stephen S. Smith, David C. Dawson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The Cystic Fibrosis Conductance Regulator (CFTR) functions as a cAMP-activated, anion-selective channel, but the structural basis for anion permeation is not well understood. Here we summarize recent studies aimed at understanding how anions move through the CFTR channel, and the nature of the environment anions experience inside the pore. From these studies it is apparent that anion permeability selectivity and anion binding selectivity of the pore are consistent with a model based on a "dielectric tunnel." The selectivity pattern for halides and pseudohalides can be predicted if it is assumed that permeant anions partition between bulk water and a polarizable space that is characterized by an effective dielectric constant of about 19. Covalent labeling of engineered cysteines and pH titration of engineered cysteines and histidines lead to the conclusion that the CFTR anion conduction path includes a positively charged outer vestibule. A residue in transmembrane segment 6 (TM6) (R334) appears to reside in the outer vestibule of the CFTR pore where it creates a positive electrostatic potential that enhances anion conduction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-75
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Experimental Zoology Part A: Comparative Experimental Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 1 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology


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