Jonathan Allen Cohn, MD

Professor of Medicine
Associate Professor of Cell Biology
Professor in Pediatrics
Campus mail DUMC Box 3256, Durham, NC 27710
Phone (919) 684-6879
Email address

In many epithelial tissues, the protein mainly responsible for controlling transepithelial fluid movement is the the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR). CFTR was originally identified as the protein product of the gene causing cystic fibrosis (CF). CFTR functions as a chloride channel regulated by protein kinase A (PKA). This laboratory is studying the role and regulation of CFTR. One project focuses on how PKA acts on CFTR. In this project, recombinant peptide models are being used to model the cytoplasmic domains of CFTR responsible for activating the protein's chloride's chloride channel function. Site-directed mutagenesis is being used to produce modified peptides to study how different individual serine phosphoryation contribute to CFTR regulation. A second project concerns DF508, the most common mutation among patients with CF. This mutation affects CFTR function by preventing normal folding and intracellular trafficking of the newly synthesized mutant protein. This project is examining the mislocalization of DF508-CFTR in tissues and cell lines with the long term goal of developing strategies to prevent the mutant protein from mislocalizing. A third project concerns the role of CFTR in chronic pancreatitic diseases. Emerging data about the role of CFTR during normal pancreatic secretion suggests that dysfunction of this protein may lead to pancreatic diseases such as chronic pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer. Patients with these chronic pancreatic diseases are being tested for CFTR mutations and for evidence of defective CFTR function.

Education and Training

  • Fellow in Gastroenterology, Medicine, Yale University, 1981 - 1984
  • Medical Resident, Medicine, University of California San Francisco, School of Medicine, 1980 - 1981
  • Medical Resident, Medicine, University of Alabama Birmingham, 1978 - 1980
  • M.D., Cornell University, 1978


Cohn, Jonathan A., John P. Neoptolemos, Jinong Feng, Jin Yan, Zefei Jiang, William Greenhalf, Christopher McFaul, Roger Mountford, and Steve S. Sommer. “Increased risk of idiopathic chronic pancreatitis in cystic fibrosis carriers.” Hum Mutat 26, no. 4 (October 2005): 303–7.

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Cohn, Jonathan A., R Michael Mitchell, and Paul S. Jowell. “The impact of cystic fibrosis and PSTI/SPINK1 gene mutations on susceptibility to chronic pancreatitis.” Clin Lab Med 25, no. 1 (March 2005): 79–100.

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Cohn, Jonathan A., R Michael Mitchell, and Paul S. Jowell. “The role of cystic fibrosis gene mutations in determining susceptibility to chronic pancreatitis.” Gastroenterol Clin North Am 33, no. 4 (December 2004): 817–vii.

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Howell, L Daniel, Roy Borchardt, Jolanta Kole, Andrew M. Kaz, Christoph Randak, and Jonathan A. Cohn. “Protein kinase A regulates ATP hydrolysis and dimerization by a CFTR (cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator) domain.” Biochem J 378, no. Pt 1 (February 15, 2004): 151–59.

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Mansfield, S Gary, Rebecca Hawkins Clark, M. Puttaraju, Jolanta Kole, Jonathan A. Cohn, Lloyd G. Mitchell, and Mariano A. Garcia-Blanco. “5' exon replacement and repair by spliceosome-mediated RNA trans-splicing.” Rna 9, no. 10 (October 2003): 1290–97.

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