Washington University in St. Louis

New eLife Publication for Nichols and Brett labs


Senior author, Tom Brett, along with co-authors Monica Sala-Rabanal, Zeynep Yurtsever, and Colin Nichols, have just published a new paper titled "Secreted CLCA1 modulates TMEM16A to activate Ca2+-dependent chloride currents in human cells."  Their research lays the groundwok for developing treatments to counteract overproduction of mucus in COPD, asthma, and cystic fibrosis.  eLife, Published March 17, 2015

These research findings were also featured by the Washington University Newsroom:  https://news.wustl.edu/news/Pages/Study-sheds-new-light-on-asthma-COPD.aspx

Abstract:  Calcium-activated chloride channel regulator 1 (CLCA1) activates calcium-dependent chloride currents; neither the target, nor mechanism, is known. We demonstrate that secreted CLCA1 activates calcium-dependent chloride currents in HEK293T cells in a paracrine fashion, and endogenous TMEM16A/Anoctamin1 conducts the currents. Exposure to exogenous CLCA1 increases cell surface levels of TMEM16A and cellular binding experiments indicate CLCA1 engages TMEM16A on the surface of these cells. Altogether, our data suggest that CLCA1 stabilizes TMEM16A on the cell surface, thus increasing surface expression, which results in increased calcium-dependent chloride currents. Our results identify the first Cl− channel target of the CLCA family of proteins and establish CLCA1 as the first secreted direct modifier of TMEM16A activity, delineating a unique mechanism to increase currents. These results suggest cooperative roles for CLCA and TMEM16 proteins in influencing the physiology of multiple tissues, and the pathology of multiple diseases, including asthma, COPD, cystic fibrosis, and certain cancers. 

* To access the complete journal article, click here.

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