TMEM16A (ANO1) functions as a calcium-activated chloride channel (CaCC). We developed pharmacological tools to investigate the contribution of TMEM16A to CaCC conductance in human airway and intestinal epithelial cells. A screen of ∼110,000 compounds revealed four novel chemical classes of small molecule TMEM16A inhibitors that fully blocked TMEM16A chloride current with an IC 50 < 10 μM, without interfering with calcium signaling. Following structure-activity analysis, the most potent inhibitor, an aminophenylthiazole (T16Ainh-A01), had an IC50 of ∼1 μM. Two distinct types of inhibitors were identified. Some compounds, such as tannic acid and the arylaminothiophene CaCCinh-A01, fully inhibited CaCC current in human bronchial and intestinal cells. Other compounds, including T16Ainh-A01 and digallic acid, inhibited total CaCC current in these cells poorly, but blocked mainly an initial, agonist-stimulated transient chloride current. TMEM16A RNAi knockdown also inhibited mainly the transient chloride current. In contrast to the airway and intestinal cells, all TMEM16A inhibitors fully blocked CaCC current in salivary gland cells. We conclude that TMEM16A carries nearly all CaCC current in salivary gland epithelium, but is a minor contributor to total CaCC current in airway and intestinal epithelia. The small molecule inhibitors identified here permit pharmacological dissection of TMEM16A/CaCC function and are potential development candidates for drug therapy of hypertension, pain, diarrhea, and excessive mucus production.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology