Cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR)
A protein forming a channel or doorway on the cell surface that lets chloride (a component of salt) move out of the cell.
Human cells have thousands of tiny doorways on their surface. These doorways let molecules move in and out of cells. This a normal part of how the human body works. CFTR is a doorway in the cell surface. Its job is to let chloride (a component of salt) out of cells. CFTR is found in some cells of the body, such as the cells lining the airway and the gut.
In cystic fibrosis, the CFTR doorway is faulty, and chloride cannot exit the cell properly. This causes many issues. For example, people with cystic fibrosis can have thick sticky mucus in the airway and they can struggle to digest food.
Read our article explaining how mutations in the CFTR gene can cause cystic fibrosis.