Pflugers Archiv : European journal of physiology

The role of TMEM16A (ANO1) and TMEM16F (ANO6) in cell migration.

PMID 23832500


Members of the TMEM16 family have recently been described as Ca(2+)-activated Cl(-) channels. They have been implicated in cancer and appear to be associated with poor patient prognosis. Here, we investigate the role of TMEM16 channels in cell migration, which is largely unknown. We focused on TMEM16A and TMEM16F channels that have the highest expression of TMEM16 channels in Ehrlich Lettre ascites (ELA) cells. Due to the lack of specific pharmacological modulators, we employed a miRNA approach and stably knocked down the expression of TMEM16A and TMEM16F channels, respectively. Migration analysis shows that TMEM16A KD clones are affected in their directional migration, whereas TMEM16F KD clones show a 40 % reduced rate of cell migration. Moreover, TMEM16A KD clones have a smaller projected cell area, and they are rounder than TMEM16F KD clones. The morphological changes are linearly correlated with the directionality of cells. TMEM16A and TMEM16F, thus, have an important function in cell migration-TMEM16A in directional migration, TMEM16F in determination of the speed of migration. We conclude that TMEM16A and TMEM16F channels have a distinct impact on the steering and motor mechanisms of migrating ELA cells.