Interspecies diversity of chloride channel regulators, calcium-activated 3 genes

Lars Mundhenk, Nancy A. Erickson, Nikolai Klymiuk, Achim D. Gruber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Members of the chloride channel regulators, calcium-activated (CLCA) family, have been implicated in diverse biomedical conditions, including chronic inflammatory airway diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and cystic fibrosis, the activation of macrophages, and the growth and metastatic spread of tumor cells. Several observations, however, could not be repeated across species boundaries and increasing evidence suggests that select CLCA genes are particularly prone to dynamic species-specific evolve-ments. Here, we systematically characterized structural and expressional differences of the CLCA3 gene across mammalian species, revealing a spectrum of gene duplications, e.g., in mice and cows, and of gene silencing via diverse chromosomal modifications in pigs and many primates, including humans. In contrast, expression of a canonical CLCA3 protein from a single functional gene seems to be evolutionarily retained in carnivores, rabbits, Guinea pigs, and horses. As an accepted asthma model, we chose the cat to establish the tissue and cellular expression pattern of the CLCA3 protein which was primarily found in mucin-producing cells of the respiratory tract and in stratified epithelia of the esophagus. Our results suggest that, among developmental differences in other CLCA genes, the CLCA3 gene possesses a particularly high dynamic evolutionary diversity with pivotal consequences for humans and other primates that seem to lack a CLCA3 protein. Our data also help to explain previous contradictory results on CLCA3 obtained from different species and warrant caution in extrapolating data from animal models in conditions where CLCA3 may be involved.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0191512
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes


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