For my steam project I decorated a cake to compare a healthy individual’s cystic fibrosis transmembrane regulator ion channel (CFTR protein) with the CFTR protein of an individual that has a specific  cftr gene mutation. This mutation causes one of the two gate domains to be closed. This restricts the flow of chloride ions, leading to the condition known as Cystic Fibrosis (CF). The mutated channel is shown on the right, with the extracellular gate domain being in a permanent closed conformation. On the opposing healthy channel, you can see that both the cytoplasmic domain and the extracellular domain are both in open conformations. This allows chloride ions (shown as brown coco puffs) to pass through the channel and move into and out of the cell. These chloride ions will serve to lighten mucus in healthy individuals, preventing the many complications of CF associated with thick sticky glue-like mucus. As these are both transmembrane proteins, they stretch across the phospholipid bilayer that makes up the cell membrane (illustrated by the two uncooked pasta noodles.).

Healthy CFTR ion channel vs. Mutated CFTR ion channel: A Comparison  

One Comment

  1. Bryant, this is such a cool depiction of the mutation of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane regulator ion channel protein in people with cystic fibrosis. I like that you made a healthy one compared to the one with the mutated gene, because it really gave me a clear understanding of what is going on. I can tell your project was on the respiratory condition cystic fibrosis from unit 12, and I think it is great how you identified the core issue behind this chronic disease and what exactly was mutating. Many projects on cystic fibrosis might have focused on the symptoms and what is going on in the lungs rather than the mutation in the ion channel, but I like the approach you took! Your description was very thorough and it gave me a better understanding of cystic fibrosis and your project. I appreciate the medium that you used for your STEAM project. It looks delicious and I hope you were able to enjoy it after putting in the work to create the project. Great job on everything!

    Ashley Tench

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