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Functional defect of variants in the adenosine triphosphate-binding sites of ABCB4 and their rescue by the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator potentiator, ivacaftor (VX-770).

Delaunay J.L., Bruneau A., Hoffmann B., Durand-Schneider A.M., Barbu V., Jacquemin E., Maurice M., Housset C., Callebaut I., Ait-Slimane T.

ABCB4 (MDR3) is an adenosine triphosphate (ATP)-binding cassette (ABC) transporter expressed at the canalicular membrane of hepatocytes, where it mediates phosphatidylcholine (PC) secretion. Variations in the ABCB4 gene are responsible for several biliary diseases, including progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis type 3 (PFIC3), a rare disease that can be lethal in the absence of liver transplantation. In this study, we investigated the effect and potential rescue of ABCB4 missense variations that reside in the highly conserved motifs of ABC transporters, involved in ATP binding. Five disease-causing variations in these motifs have been identified in ABCB4 (G535D, G536R, S1076C, S1176L, and G1178S), three of which are homologous to the gating mutations of cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR or ABCC7; i.e., G551D, S1251N, and G1349D), that were previously shown to be function defective and corrected by ivacaftor (VX-770; Kalydeco), a clinically approved CFTR potentiator. Three-dimensional structural modeling predicted that all five ABCB4 variants would disrupt critical interactions in the binding of ATP and thereby impair ATP-induced nucleotide-binding domain dimerization and ABCB4 function. This prediction was confirmed by expression in cell models, which showed that the ABCB4 mutants were normally processed and targeted to the plasma membrane, whereas their PC secretion activity was dramatically decreased. As also hypothesized on the basis of molecular modeling, PC secretion activity of the mutants was rescued by the CFTR potentiator, ivacaftor (VX-770).Disease-causing variations in the ATP-binding sites of ABCB4 cause defects in PC secretion, which can be rescued by ivacaftor. These results provide the first experimental evidence that ivacaftor is a potential therapy for selected patients who harbor mutations in the ATP-binding sites of ABCB4. (Hepatology 2017;65:560-570).

Hepatology 65:560-570(2017) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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