Bestrophin-1 influences transepithelial electrical properties and Ca2+signaling in human retinal pigment epithelium

Alan D. Marmorstein, Tyson R. Kinnick, J. Brett Stanton, Adiv A. Johnson, Ronald M. Lynch, Lihua Y. Marmorstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Purpose: Mutations in BEST1, encoding Bestrophin-1 (Best1), cause Best vitelliform macular dystrophy (BVMD) and other inherited retinal degenerative diseases. Best1 is an integral membrane protein localized to the basolateral plasma membrane of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE). Data from numerous in vitro and in vivo models have demonstrated that Best1 regulates intracellular Ca2+ levels. Although it is known from in vitro and crystal structure data that Best1 is also a calcium-activated anion channel, evidence for Best1 functioning as a channel in human RPE is lacking. To assess Best1-associated channel activity in the RPE, we examined the transepithelial electrical properties of fetal human RPE (fhRPE) cells, which express endogenous Best1. Methods: Using adenovirus-mediated gene transfer, we overexpressed Best1 and the BVMD mutant Best1W93C in fhRPE cells and assessed resting transepithelial potential (TEP), transepithelial resistance, short circuit current (Isc), and intracellular Ca2+ levels. Cl- currents were directly measured in transfected HEK293 cells using whole-cell patch clamp. Results: Best1W93C showed ablated Cl- currents and, when co-expressed, suppressed the channel activity of Best1 in HEK293 cells. In fhRPE, overexpression of Best1 increased TEP and Isc, while Best1W93C diminished TEP and Isc. Substitution of Cl- in the bath media resulted in a significant reduction of Isc in monolayers overexpressing Best1, but no significant Isc change in monolayers expressing Best1W93C. We removed Ca2+ as a limit on transepithelial electrical properties by treating cells with ionomycin, and found that changes in Isc and TEP for monolayers expressing Best1 were absent in monolayers expressing Best1W93C. Similarly, inhibition of calcium-activated anion channels with niflumic acid reduced both Isc and TEP of control and Best1 monolayers, but did not notably affect Best1W93C monolayers. Stimulation with extracellular ATP induced an increase in TEP in control monolayers that was greater than that observed in those expressing Best1W93C. Examination of [Ca2+]i following ATP stimulation demonstrated that the expression of Best1W93C impaired intracellular Ca2+ signaling. Conclusions: These data indicate that Best1 activity strongly influences electrophysiology and Ca2+ signaling in RPE cells, and that a common BVMD mutation disrupts both of these parameters. Our findings support the hypothesis that Best1 functions as an anion channel in human RPE.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)347-359
Number of pages13
JournalMolecular Vision
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


Dive into the research topics of 'Bestrophin-1 influences transepithelial electrical properties and Ca2+signaling in human retinal pigment epithelium'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this