Incomplete rescue of cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator deficient mice by the human CFTR cDNA
Rozmahel, R.; Gyömörey, K.; Plyte, S.; Nguyen, V.; Wilschanski, M.; Durie, P.; Bear, C.E.; Tsui, L.C.
Human Molecular Genetics 6(7): 1153-1162
We have used a mouse model to study the ability of human CFTR to correct the defect in mice deficient of the endogenous protein. In this model, expression of the endogenous Cftr gene was disrupted and replaced with a human CFTR cDNA by a gene targeted 'knock-in' event. Animals homozygous for the gene replacement failed to show neither improved intestinal pathology nor survival when compared to mice completely lacking CFTR. RNA analyses showed that the human CFTR sequence was transcribed from the targeted allele in the respiratory and intestinal epithelial cells. Furthermore, in vivo potential difference measurements showed that basal CFTR chloride channel activity was present in the apical membranes of both nasal and rectal epithelial cells in all homozygous knock-in animals examined. Ussing chamber studies showed, however, that the cAMP-mediated chloride channel function was impaired in the intestinal tract among the majority of homozygous knock-in animals. Hence, failure to correct the intestinal pathology associated with loss of endogenous CFTR was related to inefficient functional expression of the human protein in mice. These results emphasize the need to understand the tissue-specific expression and regulation of CFTR function when animal models are used in gene therapy studies.