Tel.+49 30 838 62450 Fax.+49 30 838 62522
Emerging porcine models of cystic fibrosis (CF) are expected to mimic the human disease more closely than current mouse models do. However, little is known of the tissue and cellular expression patterns of the porcine CF transmembrane conductance regulator (pCFTR) and possible differences from human CFTR (hCFTR). Here, the expression pattern of pCFTR was systematically established on the mRNA and protein levels. Using specific anti-pCFTR antibodies, the majority of the protein was immunohistochemically detected on paraffin-embedded sections and on cryostate sections in the apical cytosol of intestinal crypt epithelial cells, nasal, tracheal, and bronchial epithelial cells, and other select, mostly glandular epithelial cells. Confocal laser scanning microscopy with co-localization of the Golgi marker 58K localized the protein in the cytosol between the Golgi apparatus and the apical cell membrane with occasional punctate or diffuse staining of the apical membrane. The tissue and cellular distribution patterns were confirmed by RT-PCR from whole tissue lysates or select cells after laser capture microdissection. Thus, expression of pCFTR was found to largely resemble that of hCFTR except for the kidney, brain, and cutaneous glands, which lack expression in pigs. Species-specific differences between pCFTR and hCFTR may become relevant for future interpretations of the CF phenotype in pig models.