Sphingosine-1-phosphate is a novel regulator of cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) activity

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The cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) attenuates sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) signaling in resistance arteries and has emerged as a prominent regulator of myogenic vasoconstriction. This investigation demonstrates that S1P inhibits CFTR activity via adenosine monophosphate-activated kinase (AMPK), establishing a potential feedback link. In Baby Hamster Kidney (BHK) cells expressing wild-type human CFTR, S1P (1μmol/L) attenuates forskolin-stimulated, CFTR-dependent iodide efflux. S1P's inhibitory effect is rapid (within 30 seconds), transient and correlates with CFTR serine residue 737 (S737) phosphorylation. Both S1P receptor antagonism (4μmol/L VPC 23019) and AMPK inhibition (80μmol/L Compound C or AMPK siRNA) attenuate S1P-stimluated (i) AMPK phosphorylation, (ii) CFTR S737 phosphorylation and (iii) CFTR activity inhibition. In BHK cells expressing the ΔF508 CFTR mutant (CFTRΔF508), the most common mutation causing cystic fibrosis, both S1P receptor antagonism and AMPK inhibition enhance CFTR activity, without instigating discernable correction. In summary, we demonstrate that S1P/AMPK signaling transiently attenuates CFTR activity. Since our previous work positions CFTR as a negative S1P signaling regulator, this signaling link may positively reinforce S1P signals. This discovery has clinical ramifications for the treatment of disease states associated with enhanced S1P signaling and/or deficient CFTR activity (e.g. cystic fibrosis, heart failure). S1P receptor/AMPK inhibition could synergistically enhance the efficacy of therapeutic strategies aiming to correct aberrant CFTR trafficking.




Malik, F. A., Meissner, A., Semenkov, I., Molinski, S., Pasyk, S., Ahmadi, S., … Bolz, S. S. (2015). Sphingosine-1-phosphate is a novel regulator of cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) activity. PLoS ONE, 10(6). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0130313

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