A basic sequence in STIM1 promotes Ca2+ influx by interacting with the C-terminal acidic coiled coil of Orai1

Biochemistry. 2010 Feb 16;49(6):1067-71. doi: 10.1021/bi901936q.


Store-operated Ca(2+) entry (SOCE) is a ubiquitous signaling process in eukaryotic cells in which the endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-localized Ca(2+) sensor, STIM1, activates the plasma membrane-localized Ca(2+) release-activated Ca(2+) (CRAC) channel, Orai1, in response to emptying of ER Ca(2+) stores. In efforts to understand this activation mechanism, we recently identified an acidic coiled-coil region in the C-terminus of Orai1 that contributes to physical association between these two proteins, as measured by fluorescence resonance energy transfer, and is necessary for Ca(2+) influx, as measured by an intracellular Ca(2+) indicator. Here, we present evidence that a positively charged sequence of STIM1 in its CRAC channel activating domain, human residues 384-386, is necessary for activation of SOCE, most likely because this sequence interacts directly with the acidic coiled coil of Orai1 to gate Ca(2+) influx. We find that mutation to remove positive charges in these residues in STIM1 prevents its stimulated association with wild-type Orai1. However, association does occur between this mutant STIM1 and Orai1 that is mutated to remove negative charges in its C-terminal coiled coil, indicating that other structural features are sufficient for this interaction. Despite this physical association, we find that thapsigargin fails to activate SOCE following coexpression of mutant STIM1 with either wild type or mutant Orai1, implicating STIM1 residues 384-386 in transmission of the Ca(2+) gating signal to Orai1 following store depletion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • COS Cells
  • Calcium Channels / chemistry*
  • Calcium Channels / genetics
  • Calcium Channels / metabolism
  • Calcium Signaling* / genetics
  • Chlorocebus aethiops
  • Conserved Sequence / genetics
  • Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Membrane Proteins / chemistry*
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Mutagenesis, Site-Directed
  • Neoplasm Proteins / chemistry*
  • Neoplasm Proteins / genetics
  • Neoplasm Proteins / metabolism
  • ORAI1 Protein
  • Peptide Fragments / chemistry*
  • Peptide Fragments / genetics
  • Peptide Fragments / metabolism
  • Protein Interaction Mapping
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary / genetics
  • Rats
  • Stromal Interaction Molecule 1


  • Calcium Channels
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • ORAI1 Protein
  • ORAI1 protein, human
  • Peptide Fragments
  • STIM1 protein, human
  • Stromal Interaction Molecule 1