Identification and functional characterization of TMEM16A, a Ca 2+-activated Cl- channel activated by extracellular nucleotides, in biliary epithelium

Amal K. Dutta, Al Karim Khimji, Charles Kresge, Abhijit Bugde, Michael Dougherty, Victoria Esser, Yoshiyuki Ueno, Shannon S. Glaser, Gianfranco Alpini, Don C. Rockey, Andrew P. Feranchak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


Cl- channels in the apical membrane of biliary epithelial cells (BECs) provide the driving force for ductular bile formation. Although a cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator has been identified in BECs and contributes to secretion via secretin binding basolateral receptors and increasing [cAMP]i, an alternate Cl- secretory pathway has been identified that is activated via nucleotides (ATP, UTP) binding apical P2 receptors and increasing [Ca2+]i. The molecular identity of this Ca2+-activated Cl- channel is unknown. The present studies in human, mouse, and rat BECs provide evidence that. TMEM16A is the operative channel and contributes to Ca2+-activated Cl- secretion in response to extracellular nucleotides. Furthermore, Cl- currents measured from BECs isolated from distinct areas of intrahepatic bile ducts revealed important functional differences. Large BECs, but not small BECs, exhibit cAMP-stimulated Cl- currents. However, both large and small BECs express TMEM16A and exhibit Ca2+-activated Cl- efflux in response to extracellular nucleotides. Incubation of polarized BEC monolayers with IL-4 increased TMEM16A protein expression, membrane localization, and transepithelial secretion (Isc). These studies represent the first molecular identification of an alternate, noncystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator, Cl- channel in BECs and suggest that TMEM16A may be a potential target to modulate bile formation in the treatment of cholestatic liver disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)766-776
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 7 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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