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Circ Res. 2008 Oct 10;103(8):864-72. doi: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.108.178517. Epub 2008 Sep 5.

Bestrophin-3 (vitelliform macular dystrophy 2-like 3 protein) is essential for the cGMP-dependent calcium-activated chloride conductance in vascular smooth muscle cells.

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Water and Salt Centre, Institute of Physiology and Biophysics, University of Aarhus, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark.


Although the biophysical fingerprints (ion selectivity, voltage-dependence, kinetics, etc) of Ca(2+)-activated Cl(-) currents are well established, their molecular identity is still controversial. Several molecular candidates have been suggested; however, none of them has been fully accepted. We have recently characterized a cGMP-dependent Ca(2+)-activated Cl(-) current with unique characteristics in smooth muscle cells. This novel current has been shown to coexist with a "classic" (cGMP-independent) Ca(2+)-activated Cl(-) current and to have characteristics distinct from those previously known for Ca(2+)-activated Cl(-) currents. Here, we suggest that a bestrophin, a product of the Best gene family, is responsible for the cGMP-dependent Ca(2+)-activated Cl(-) current based on similarities between the membrane currents produced by heterologous expressions of bestrophins and the cGMP-dependent Ca(2+)-activated Cl(-) current. This is supported by similarities in the distribution pattern of the cGMP-dependent Ca(2+)-activated Cl(-) current and bestrophin-3 (the product of Best-3 gene) expression in different smooth muscle. Furthermore, downregulation of Best-3 gene expression with small interfering RNA both in cultured cells and in vascular smooth muscle cells in vivo was associated with a significant reduction of the cGMP-dependent Ca(2+)-activated Cl(-) current, whereas the magnitude of the classic Ca(2+)-activated Cl(-) current was not affected. The majority of previous suggestions that bestrophins are a new Cl(-) channel family were based on heterologous expression in cell culture studies. Our present results demonstrate that at least 1 family member, bestrophin-3, is essential for a well-defined endogenous Ca(2+)-activated Cl(-) current in smooth muscles in the intact vascular wall.

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