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Distinct proteostasis states drive pharmacologic chaperone susceptibility for Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator misfolding mutants

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Pharmacological chaperones represent a class of therapeutic compounds for treating protein misfolding diseases. One of the most prominent examples is the FDA-approved pharmacological chaperone lumacaftor (VX-809), which has transformed cystic fibrosis (CF) therapy. CF is a fatal disease caused by mutations in the CF transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR). VX-809 corrects folding of F508del CFTR, the most common patient mutation, yet F508del exhibits only mild VX-809 response. In contrast, rarer mutations P67L and L206W are hyperresponsive to VX-809, while G85E is nonresponsive. Despite the clinical success of VX-809, the mechanistic origin for the distinct susceptibility of mutants remains unclear. Here we use interactomics to characterize the impact of VX-809 on proteostasis interactions of P67L and L206W and compare these with F508del and G85E. We determine that hyperresponsive mutations P67L and L206W exhibit decreased interactions with proteasomal and autophagy degradation machinery compared with F508del and G85E. We then show inhibiting the proteasome attenuates P67L and L206W VX-809 response. Our data suggest a previously unidentified but required role for protein degradation in VX-809 correction. Furthermore, we present an approach for identifying proteostasis characteristics of mutant-specific therapeutic response to pharmacological chaperones.