CRAC channelopathies

Pflugers Arch. 2010 Jul;460(2):417-35. doi: 10.1007/s00424-009-0777-5. Epub 2010 Jan 29.


Store-operated Ca2+ entry (SOCE) is an important Ca2+ influx pathway in many non-excitable and some excitable cells. It is regulated by the filling state of intracellular Ca2+ stores, notably the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Reduction in [Ca2+]ER results in activation of plasma membrane Ca2+ channels that mediate sustained Ca2+ influx which is required for many cell functions as well as refilling of Ca2+ stores. The Ca2+ release activated Ca2+ (CRAC) channel is the best characterized SOC channel with well-defined electrophysiological properties. In recent years, the molecular components of the CRAC channel, long mysterious, have been defined. ORAI1 (or CRACM1) acts as the pore-forming subunit of the CRAC channel in the plasma membrane. Stromal interaction molecule (STIM) 1 is localized in the ER, senses [Ca2+]ER, and activates the CRAC channel upon store depletion by binding to ORAI1. Both proteins are widely expressed in many tissues in both human and mouse consistent with the widespread prevalence of SOCE and CRAC channel currents in many cells types. CRAC channelopathies in human patients with mutations in STIM1 and ORAI1 are characterized by abolished CRAC channel currents, lack of SOCE and-clinically-immunodeficiency, congenital myopathy, and anhydrotic ectodermal dysplasia. This article reviews the role of ORAI and STIM proteins for SOCE and CRAC channel function in a variety of cell types and tissues and compares the phenotypes of ORAI1 and STIM1-deficient human patients and mice with targeted deletion of Orai and Stim genes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Calcium Channels / deficiency
  • Calcium Channels / physiology*
  • Calcium Signaling / physiology*
  • Channelopathies / metabolism*
  • Channelopathies / pathology
  • Dental Enamel / pathology
  • Ectodermal Dysplasia / pathology
  • Humans
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / deficiency
  • Membrane Proteins / deficiency
  • Membrane Proteins / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Muscular Diseases / etiology
  • Neoplasm Proteins / deficiency
  • Neoplasm Proteins / physiology*
  • ORAI1 Protein
  • Severe Combined Immunodeficiency / physiopathology
  • Stromal Interaction Molecule 1
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Calcium Channels
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • ORAI1 Protein
  • ORAI1 protein, human
  • Orai1 protein, mouse
  • STIM1 protein, human
  • Stim1 protein, mouse
  • Stromal Interaction Molecule 1
  • Calcium