Identification and functional characterization of TMEM16A, a Ca2+-activated Cl- channel activated by extracellular nucleotides, in biliary epithelium. Academic Article uri icon


  • 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 [Ca(2+)](i). The molecular identity of this Ca(2+)-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 Ca(2+)-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 Ca(2+)-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 (I(sc)). 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.

published proceedings

  • J Biol Chem

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Dutta, A. K., Khimji, A., Kresge, C., Bugde, A., Dougherty, M., Esser, V., ... Feranchak, A. P.

citation count

  • 82

complete list of authors

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

publication date

  • January 2011