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Cell Calcium. 2009 Oct;46(4):233-41. doi: 10.1016/j.ceca.2009.09.003. Epub 2009 Sep 26.

Bestrophin and TMEM16-Ca(2+) activated Cl(-) channels with different functions.

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Institut für Physiologie, Universität Regensburg, Universitätsstrasse 31, D-93053 Regensburg, Germany.


In the past, a number of candidates have been proposed to form Ca(2+) activated Cl(-) currents, but it is only recently that two families of proteins, the bestrophins and the TMEM16-proteins, recapitulate reliably the properties of Ca(2+) activated Cl(-) currents. Bestrophin 1 is strongly expressed in the retinal pigment epithelium, but also at lower levels in other cell types. Bestrophin 1 may form Ca(2+) activated chloride channels and, at the same time, affect intracellular Ca(2+) signaling. In epithelial cells, bestrophin 1 probably controls receptor mediated Ca(2+) signaling. It may do so by facilitating Ca(2+) release from the endoplasmic reticulum, thereby indirectly activating membrane localized Ca(2+)-dependent Cl(-) channels. In contrast to bestrophin 1, the Ca(2+) activated Cl(-) channel TMEM16A (anoctamin 1, ANO1) shows most of the biophysical and pharmacological properties that have been attributed to Ca(2+)-dependent Cl(-) channels in various tissues. TMEM16A is broadly expressed in both mouse and human tissues and is of particular importance in epithelial cells. Thus exocrine gland secretion as well as electrolyte transport by both respiratory and intestinal epithelia requires TMEM16A. Because of its role for Ca(2+)-dependent Cl(-) secretion in human airways, it is likely to become a prime target for the therapy of cystic fibrosis lung disease, caused by defective cAMP-dependent Cl(-) secretion. It will be very exciting to learn, how TMEM16A and other TMEM16-proteins are activated upon increase in intracellular Ca(2+), and whether the other nine members of the TMEM16 family also form Cl(-) channels with properties similar to TMEM16A.

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