Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Journal of Biological Chemistry










Nanosecond pulsed electric fields (nsPEF) are emerging as a novel modality for cell stimulation and tissue ablation. However, the downstream protein effectors responsible for nsPEF bioeffects remain to be established. Here we demonstrate that nsPEF activate TMEM16F (or Anoctamin 6), a protein functioning as a Ca2+-dependent phospholipid scramblase and Ca2+-activated chloride channel. Using confocal microscopy and patch clamp recordings, we investigated the relevance of TMEM16F activation for several bioeffects triggered by nsPEF, including phosphatidylserine (PS) externalization, nanopore-conducted currents, membrane blebbing, and cell death. In HEK 293 cells treated with a single 300-ns pulse of 25.5 kV/cm, Tmem16f expression knockdown and TMEM16F-specific inhibition decreased nsPEF-induced PS exposure by 49 and 42%, respectively. Moreover, the Tmem16f silencing significantly decreased Ca2+-dependent chloride channel currents activated in response to the nanoporation. Tmem16f expression also affected nsPEF-induced cell blebbing, with only 20% of the silenced cells developing blebs compared with 53% of the control cells. This inhibition of cellular blebbing correlated with a 25% decrease in cytosolic free Ca2+ transient at 30 s after nanoporation. Finally, in TMEM16F-overexpressing cells, a train of 120 pulses (300 ns, 20 Hz, 6 kV/cm) decreased cell survival to 34% compared with 51% in control cells (*, p < 0.01). Taken together, these results indicate that TMEM16F activation by nanoporation mediates and enhances the diverse cellular effects of nsPEF.

Original Publication Citation

Muratori, C., Pakhomov, A. G., Gianulis, E., Meads, J., Casciola, M., Mollica, P. A., & Pakhomova, O. N. (2017). Activation of the phospholipid scramblase TMEM16F by nanosecond pulsed electric field (nsPEF) facilitates its diverse cytophysiological effects. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 292(47), 19381-19391. doi:10.1074/jbc.M117.803049


0000-0001-5490-1822 (Gianulis), 0000-0003-0203-0847 (Casciola), 0000-0002-0621-2819 (Mollica), 0000-0003-4950-4130 (Pakhomova)