Nav: Home

New molecules identified that could help in the fight to prevent cystic fibrosis

June 09, 2016

New research has identified new molecules that could help in the fight to prevent diseases caused by faulty ion channels, such as cystic fibrosis.

Ion channels are proteins found in a cell's membrane, which create tiny openings in the membrane that regulate the movement of specific ions. Defective ion channels are the underlying cause of many diseases, notably cystic fibrosis, in which the transport of chloride ions is impaired.

Synthetic transporters that can carry chloride through lipid-bilayer membranes have been developed that could potentially replace the function of faulty channels. However, these transporters may also carry protons or hydroxide ions, which could disrupt pH homeostasis in the human body and lead to undesired toxic effects.

The new study involving an international team of researchers, published in the journal Chem, is the first to show examples of anion transporters with a high selectivity for chloride over protons and hydroxide. The researchers first demonstrated that proton/hydroxide transport is an overlooked side effect of synthetic anion transporters that were previously assumed to just carry anions. To address this problem, the researchers synthesised two new molecules that showed high selectivity for carrying chloride ions over protons and hydroxide. One of these compounds enabled chloride transport in real cells without seriously affecting lysosomal pH.

Lead author and PhD student, Xin Wu from the University of Southampton, said: "These new findings represent a paradigm shift for transporter design and provide important clues on how to develop anion transporters for different biomedical applications. We showed that different classes of anion transporters can have different behaviour in regulating ion gradients, membrane potential and pH gradients in cells. You need to pick the right molecule to have the desired biological effect for treating a certain disease."

Co-author and Xin's supervisor Professor Phil Gale, Head of Chemistry at the University of Southampton, said: "We demonstrated the possibility to develop molecules to replace the function of chloride channels without disrupting pH homeostasis. This is a significant step toward real biomedical application of anion transporters in the battle against cystic fibrosis and other diseases caused by faulty ion channels."
-end-
The study involved researchers from the University of Bristol, Universitat de Barcelona (Spain) and Xiamen University (China). It was funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the Spanish government, the EU, and the La Marato? de TV3 Foundation.

University of Southampton

Related Cystic Fibrosis Articles:

Cystic fibrosis carriers at increased risk of digestive symptoms
Researchers have found that carriers of the most common genetic variant that causes cystic fibrosis experience some symptoms similar to those of people with cystic fibrosis.
In cystic fibrosis, lungs feed deadly bacteria
A steady supply of its favorite food helps a deadly bacterium thrive in the lungs of people with cystic fibrosis, according to a new study by Columbia researchers.
Cibio knocks out cystic fibrosis
The fight against cystic fibrosis continues, targeting in particular some of the mutations that cause it.
Hypertonic saline may help babies with cystic fibrosis breathe better
Babies with cystic fibrosis may breathe better by inhaling hypertonic saline, according to a randomized controlled trial conducted in Germany and published in the American Thoracic Society's American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
Understanding antibiotic resistance in patients with cystic fibrosis
Patients with cystic fibrosis who carried antibiotic-resistant bacteria in their lungs had significantly lower microbial diversity and more aggressive disease, according to a small study published in Heliyon.
Research shows that cystic fibrosis impacts growth in the womb
New research, published in Thorax, funded by the Cystic Fibrosis Trust has shown that babies with cystic fibrosis (CF) are born weighing less than babies without the condition, even allowing that they are more likely to be born prematurely.
Discovery gives cystic fibrosis researchers new direction
A multi-disciplinary team of researchers at the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR) and Harvard Medical School (HMS) started out trying to catalogue all the different cells in the airway and the paths they take to become those cells.
Supplemental antioxidants may reduce exacerbations in cystic fibrosis
An antioxidant-enriched vitamin may decrease respiratory exacerbations in people with cystic fibrosis (CF), according to new research published online in April in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
Protein structure could unlock new treatments for cystic fibrosis
Biochemists at the University of Zurich have used cryo-electron microscopy to determine the detailed architecture of the chloride channel TMEM16A.
Toward a better sweat test for babies with cystic fibrosis
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is an incurable genetic disease in which patients have chronic lung infections.
More Cystic Fibrosis News and Cystic Fibrosis Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Rethinking Anger
Anger is universal and complex: it can be quiet, festering, justified, vengeful, and destructive. This hour, TED speakers explore the many sides of anger, why we need it, and who's allowed to feel it. Guests include psychologists Ryan Martin and Russell Kolts, writer Soraya Chemaly, former talk radio host Lisa Fritsch, and business professor Dan Moshavi.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#538 Nobels and Astrophysics
This week we start with this year's physics Nobel Prize awarded to Jim Peebles, Michel Mayor, and Didier Queloz and finish with a discussion of the Nobel Prizes as a way to award and highlight important science. Are they still relevant? When science breakthroughs are built on the backs of hundreds -- and sometimes thousands -- of people's hard work, how do you pick just three to highlight? Join host Rachelle Saunders and astrophysicist, author, and science communicator Ethan Siegel for their chat about astrophysics and Nobel Prizes.