The CLCA gene family: putative therapeutic target for respiratory diseases

John P Winpenny, Laura L Marsey, Darren W Sexton

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


The CLCA proteins were first shown to exist in bovine trachea and named as chloride channels calcium activated (CLCA) due to the calcium-dependent chloride conductance that appeared to be activated on expression of these proteins in trachea and other secretory epithelial cells. Since their initial discovery the CLCA gene family has grown extensively and family members have been identified in bovine, human, murine, equine and porcine tissues. The CLCA proteins appear to have a role to play in chloride conductance across epithelial cells and hence epithelial fluid secretion; cell-cell adhesion, apoptosis, cell cycle control and tumorgenesis and metastasis; mucous production and cell signalling in respiratory diseases such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). There are four human homologues; hCLCA1, hCLCA2, hCLCA3 and hCLCA4. Interest in these proteins has gathered pace with the description of hCLCA1's involvement in several human respiratory diseases. This review will describe the CLCA gene family and then move on to look at the growing body of evidence that suggests that at least hCLCA1 has an important role in the pathogenesis of respiratory disease such as asthma, COPD and cystic fibrosis (CF).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)146-60
Number of pages15
JournalInflammation & allergy drug targets
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2009


  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • Asthma/immunology
  • Bodily Secretions/immunology
  • Calcium/metabolism
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Cell Cycle/immunology
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic
  • Chloride Channels/chemistry
  • Cystic Fibrosis/immunology
  • Epithelial Cells/immunology
  • Humans
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive/immunology
  • Structural Homology, Protein


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