Case Study: Cystic Fibrosis Mutations

This case study is a follow-up to the Cystic Fibrosis Case Study where students explore how changes in transport proteins affects the movement of ions, resulting in a build-up of chloride ions and the symptoms of the disease.

Students were introduced to the idea that different mutations can cause differences in the transport proteins, but in the first version, the origin of these mutations was not discussed.

Eventually, students get to the chapter on DNA, RNA, and protein synthesis, so it’s a good time to circle back to the CF case and explore how mutations in DNA can affect the protein made by the ribosomes.

Students should already have some background in the central dogma, but a review may be in order to remind students how to transcribe DNA to RNA and then use a codon chart to determine the sequence of amino acids. This practice worksheet on using codon charts is something they may have done in freshman biology.

CFTR Mutations

CFTR Mutations
Five Mutations Associated with CFTR Membrane Protein
Source: Wikimedia Commons

This case explore frameshift mutations, missense mutations, and nonsense mutations. Students are given a section of DNA to transcribe and compare it to mutant DNA. Students should see that changes in DNA can result in changes in the synthesized protein, though some changes are more profound than others.

The link below is a Google Doc designed for remote learning but will work for in-class lessons. An original in-class version is also available, where it doesn’t have the colored text boxes.