John Riordan, PhD

Research Focus

John Riordan, PhD, Hooker Professor of Biochemistry and Physics

Structure, Function And Biosynthetic Processing Of Membrane Proteins

The primary research focus is the structure, function, and biosynthetic processing of membrane proteins that provide permeability pathways through the membranes of cells. Much of our current work is concentrated on the ion channel protein which is absent or dysfunctional in patients with cystic fibrosis. All patients have mutations in the gene that codes for this protein, CFTR (cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator).

CFTR is a secretory channel that plays a central role in maintaining fluid balance in several tissues, including the lung airways, the intestines, and many exocrine glands such as the pancreas and salivary glands. To elucidate the molecular mechanisms of CFTR function, we study its single channel properties by electrophysiological techniques. The enzymatic activity is studied after purification of the recombinant protein generated in different cultured cell systems. Isolation of the molecule by single step methods employing antibodies and other manipulations also enables investigation of CFTR's interaction with other cellular molecules. A major objective of studies with the purified CFTR molecule is to obtain 3-dimensional structure information so that small molecules capable of recognizing features of its surface shape can be synthesized and used to modulate its folding and activity. CFTR interaction partners that are important in CFTR function and biosynthesis are being identified by proteomic methods.

Research Tools

The CF Foundation and the laboratory of Dr. Jack Riordan are pleased to offer anti-CFTR antibodies to the CF research community. Please follow this LINK for more information on placing orders and a list of available antibodies.


Please see Pubmed feed in the righthand column for links to current publications.

Contact Information

Room #6103 Thurston-Bowles Bldg.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Campus Box #7260
Chapel Hill, NC 27599
Phone: (919) 843-4751
Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics Faculty Profile