The calcium-activated chloride channel TMEM16A is a potential drug target to treat hypertension, secretory diarrhea, and several cancers. However, all reported TMEM16A structures are either closed or desensitized, and direct inhibition of the open state by drug molecules lacks a reliable structural basis. Therefore, revealing the druggable pocket of TMEM16A exposed in the open state is important for understanding protein-ligand interactions and facilitating rational drug design. Here, we reconstructed the calcium-activated open conformation of TMEM16A using an enhanced sampling algorithm and segmental modeling. Furthermore, we identified an open state druggable pocket and screened a potent TMEM16A inhibitor, etoposide, which is a derivative of a traditional herbal monomer. Molecular simulations and site-directed mutagenesis showed that etoposide binds to the open state of TMEM16A, thereby blocking the ion conductance pore of the channel. Finally, we demonstrated that etoposide can target TMEM16A to inhibit the proliferation of prostate cancer PC-3 cells. Together, these findings provide a deep understanding of the TMEM16A open state at an atomic level and identify pockets for the design of novel inhibitors with broad applications in chloride channel biology, biophysics, and medicinal chemistry.

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