Proteomic and ionomic profiling reveals significant alterations of protein expression and calcium homeostasis in cystic fibrosis cells

Domenico Ciavardelli, Melania D'Orazio, Luisa Pieroni, Ada Consalvo, Claudia Rossi, Paolo Sacchetta, Carmine Di Ilio, Andrea Battistoni, Andrea Urbani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cystic fibrosis (CF) is an autosomal recessive disorder associated with mutations of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene and defective chloride transport across the epithelial cell membranes. Abnormal epithelial ion transport is the primary cause of persistent airway infections and chronic inflammation in CF patients. In order to gain further insight into the mechanisms of epithelial dysfunctions linked to CFTR mutations, we performed and integrated proteomic and ionomic analysis of human bronchial epithelial IB3-1 cells and compared them with a CFTR-complemented isogenic cell line (C38). Aside from changes that were consistent with known effects related to CFTR mutations, such as differences in glycolytic and gluconeogenic pathways and unfolded protein responses, differential proteomics highlighted significant alteration of protein expression and, in particular, of the 14-3-3 signalling pathway that is known to be involved in cellular calcium (Ca) homeostasis. Of note, restoring chloride efflux by acting on Ca cellular homeostasis has been shown to be a promising therapeutic intervention for CF. Ionomic analysis showed significant changes in the IB3-1 element profile compared with C38 cells and in particular we observed an increase of intracellular Ca that significantly correlates with intracellular zinc (Zn) levels, suggesting a synergistic role of Ca and Zn influx. This finding is particularly intriguing because Zn has been reported to be effective in CF treatment increasing Ca influx. Taken together, our proteomic and ionomic data reveal that CFTR mutation sets in motion endogenous mechanisms counteracting impaired chloride transport mainly acting on epithelial ion transport and increasing intracellular Ca, suggesting potential links between protein expression and this response.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1117-1126
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular BioSystems
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Medicine(all)


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