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Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2013 Apr 15;304(8):C748-59. doi: 10.1152/ajpcell.00228.2012. Epub 2013 Feb 20.

TMEM16F is a component of a Ca2+-activated Cl- channel but not a volume-sensitive outwardly rectifying Cl- channel.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Physiology, Graduate School of Medicine and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Toyama, 2630 Sugitani, Toyama 930-0194, Japan.


TMEM16 (transmembrane protein 16) proteins, which possess eight putative transmembrane domains with intracellular NH2- and COOH-terminal tails, are thought to comprise a Cl(-) channel family. The function of TMEM16F, a member of the TMEM16 family, has been greatly controversial. In the present study, we performed whole cell patch-clamp recordings to investigate the function of human TMEM16F. In TMEM16F-transfected HEK293T cells but not TMEM16K- and mock-transfected cells, activation of membrane currents with strong outward rectification was found to be induced by application of a Ca(2+) ionophore, ionomycin, or by an increase in the intracellular free Ca(2+) concentration. The free Ca(2+) concentration for half-maximal activation of TMEM16F currents was 9.6 μM, which is distinctly higher than that for TMEM16A/B currents. The outwardly rectifying current-voltage relationship for TMEM16F currents was not changed by an increase in the intracellular Ca(2+) level, in contrast to TMEM16A/B currents. The Ca(2+)-activated TMEM16F currents were anion selective, because replacing Cl(-) with aspartate(-) in the bathing solution without changing cation concentrations caused a positive shift of the reversal potential. The anion selectivity sequence of the TMEM16F channel was I(-) > Br(-) > Cl(-) > F(-) > aspartate(-). Niflumic acid, a Ca(2+)-activated Cl(-) channel blocker, inhibited the TMEM16F-dependent Cl(-) currents. Neither overexpression nor knockdown of TMEM16F affected volume-sensitive outwardly rectifying Cl(-) channel (VSOR) currents activated by osmotic swelling or apoptotic stimulation. These results demonstrate that human TMEM16F is an essential component of a Ca(2+)-activated Cl(-) channel with a Ca(2+) sensitivity that is distinct from that of TMEM16A/B and that it is not related to VSOR activity.

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