Calcium-activated chloride channels (CaCCs) are key players in transepithelial ion transport and fluid secretion, smooth muscle constriction, neuronal excitability, and cell proliferation. The CaCC regulator 1 (CLCA1) modulates the activity of the CaCC TMEM16A/Anoctamin 1 (ANO1) by directly engaging the channel at the cell surface, but the exact mechanism is unknown. Here we demonstrate that the von Willebrand factor type A (VWA) domain within the cleaved CLCA1 N-terminal fragment is necessary and sufficient for this interaction. TMEM16A protein levels on the cell surface were increased in HEK293T cells transfected with CLCA1 constructs containing theVWAdomain, and TMEM16A-like currents were activated. Similar currents were evoked in cells exposed to secreted VWA domain alone, and these currents were significantly knocked down byTMEM16AsiRNA. VWA-dependentTMEM16Amodulation was not modified by the S357N mutation, a VWA domain polymorphism associated with more severe meconium ileus in cystic fibrosis patients. VWA-activated currents were significantly reduced in the absence of extracellular Mg2+, and mutation of residues within the conserved metal ion-dependent adhesion site motif impaired the ability of VWA to potentiate TMEM16A activity, suggesting that CLCA1-TMEM16A interactions are Mg2+- and metal ion-dependent adhesion site-dependent. Increase in TMEM16A activity occurred within minutes of exposure to CLCA1 or after a short treatment with nocodazole, consistent with the hypothesis that CLCA1 stabilizes TMEM16A at the cell surface by preventing its internalization. Our study hints at the therapeutic potential of the selective activation of TMEM16A by the CLCA1 VWA domain in loss-of-function chloride channelopathies such as cystic fibrosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9164-9174
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number22
StatePublished - Jun 2 2017


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