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There is a need for a large-animal model to investigate the etiology and biology of cystic fibrosis (CF) lung disease and to study potential therapies. The development and electrophysiology of the sheep airway have been shown to exhibit close functional parallels with the human airway, particularly with respect to the respiratory epithelium. We have cloned and sequenced the ovine cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) cDNA. It shows a high degree of conservation at the DNA coding and predicted polypeptide levels with human CFTR: at the nucleic acid level there is a 90% conservation (compared with 80% between human and mouse CFTR cDNA); at the polypeptide level, the degree of similarity is 95% (compared with 88% between human and mouse). Northern blot analysis and reverse transcription-PCR have shown that the patterns of expression of the ovine CFTR gene are very similar to those seen in humans. Further, the developmental expression of CFTR in the sheep is equivalent to that observed in humans. Thus, overall a CF sheep should show lung pathology similar to that of humans with CF.


Journal article


Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A

Publication Date





2293 - 2297


Amino Acid Sequence, Animals, Base Sequence, Chloride Channels, Cloning, Molecular, Cystic Fibrosis, Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator, DNA Primers, Embryonic and Fetal Development, Female, Fetus, Gene Expression, Humans, Membrane Proteins, Mice, Molecular Sequence Data, Organ Specificity, Polymerase Chain Reaction, RNA, Messenger, Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid, Sheep