Anion transport by the colonic mucosa maintains the hydration and pH of the colonic lumen, and its disruption causes a variety of diarrheal diseases. Cholinergic agonists raise cytosolic Ca2+ levels and stimulate anion secretion, but the mechanisms underlying this effect remain unclear. Cholinergic stimulation of anion secretion may occur via activation of Ca2+-activated Cl– channels (CaCCs) or an increase in the Cl– driving force through CFTR after activation of Ca2+-dependent K+ channels. Here we investigated the role of a candidate CaCC protein, bestrophin-2 (Best2), using Best2–/– mice. Cholinergic stimulation of anion current was greatly reduced in Best2–/– mice, consistent with our proposed role for Best2 as a CaCC. However, immunostaining revealed Best2 localized to the basolateral membrane of mucin-secreting colonic goblet cells, not the apical membrane of Cl–-secreting enterocytes. In addition, in the absence of HCO3–, cholinergic-activated current was identical in control and Best2–/– tissue preparations, which suggests that most of the Best2 current was carried by HCO3–. These data delineate an alternative model of cholinergic regulation of colonic anion secretion in which goblet cells play a critical role in HCO3– homeostasis. We therefore propose that Best2 is a HCO3– channel that works in concert with a Cl:HCO3– exchanger in the apical membrane to affect transcellular HCO3– transport. Furthermore, previous models implicating CFTR in cholinergic Cl– secretion may be explained by substantial downregulation of Best2 in Cftr–/– mice.


Kuai Yu, Rafael Lujan, Alan Marmorstein, Sherif Gabriel, H. Criss Hartzell


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