Cystic fibrosis: A disorder with defective autophagy

Alessandro Luciani, Valeria R. Villella, Speranza Esposito, Nicola Brunetti-Pierri, Diego L. Medina, Carmine Settembre, Manuela Gavina, Valeria Raia, Andrea Ballabio, Luigi Maiuri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The accumulation of misfolded and/or ubiquitinated protein aggregates with a perturbation of autophagy has been described in several human pathologies. A sequestration of misfolded cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) and cross-linked PPARγ has been observed in airway epithelia of cystic fibrosis (CF) patients. CF airways are also characterized by chronic inflammation, pro-oxidative environment and increased transglutaminase 2 (TG2) levels. We showed that defective CFTR drives autophagy inhibition through reactive oxygen species (ROS)-TG2-mediated aggresome sequestration of the Beclin 1 interactome. Rescuing Beclin 1 at the level of the endoplasmic reticulum and autophagy favors clearance of aggresomes, improves CFTR trafficking and ameliorates CF lung inflammation both in vitro and in vivo. Therefore, rescuing autophagy interrupts the vicious cycle linking defective CFTR and lung inflammation and may pave the way to the development of a novel class of drugs for the treatment of CF.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-106
Number of pages3
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011


  • Aggresomes
  • Autophagy
  • Beclin 1
  • CFTR
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Inflammation
  • p62
  • ROS
  • Transglutaminase 2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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