Activation of the endoplasmic reticulum calcium sensor STIM1 and store-operated calcium entry by rotavirus requires NSP4 viroporin activity

J Virol. 2013 Dec;87(24):13579-88. doi: 10.1128/JVI.02629-13. Epub 2013 Oct 9.


Rotavirus nonstructural protein 4 (NSP4) induces dramatic changes in cellular calcium homeostasis. These include increased endoplasmic reticulum (ER) permeability, resulting in decreased ER calcium stores and activation of plasma membrane (PM) calcium influx channels, ultimately causing a 2- to 4-fold elevation in cytoplasmic calcium. Elevated cytoplasmic calcium is absolutely required for virus replication, but the underlying mechanisms responsible for calcium influx remain poorly understood. NSP4 is an ER-localized viroporin, whose activity depletes ER calcium, which ultimately leads to calcium influx. We hypothesized that NSP4-mediated depletion of ER calcium activates store-operated calcium entry (SOCE) through activation of the ER calcium sensor stromal interaction molecule 1 (STIM1). We established and used a stable yellow fluorescent protein-expressing STIM1 cell line (YFP-STIM1) as a biosensor to assess STIM1 activation (puncta formation) by rotavirus infection and NSP4 expression. We found that STIM1 is constitutively active in rotavirus-infected cells and that STIM1 puncta colocalize with the PM-localized Orai1 SOCE calcium channel. Expression of wild-type NSP4 activated STIM1, resulting in PM calcium influx, but an NSP4 viroporin mutant failed to induce STIM1 activation and did not activate the PM calcium entry pathway. Finally, knockdown of STIM1 significantly reduced rotavirus yield, indicating STIM1 plays a critical role in virus replication. These data demonstrate that while rotavirus may ultimately activate multiple calcium channels in the PM, calcium influx is predicated on NSP4 viroporin-mediated activation of STIM1 in the ER. This is the first report of viroporin-mediated activation of SOCE, reinforcing NSP4 as a robust model to understand dysregulation of calcium homeostasis during virus infections.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Cytoplasm / metabolism
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / genetics
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / metabolism*
  • Glycoproteins / genetics
  • Glycoproteins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Ion Transport
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Neoplasm Proteins / genetics
  • Neoplasm Proteins / metabolism*
  • Rotavirus / genetics
  • Rotavirus / metabolism*
  • Rotavirus Infections / genetics
  • Rotavirus Infections / metabolism*
  • Rotavirus Infections / virology*
  • Stromal Interaction Molecule 1
  • Toxins, Biological / genetics
  • Toxins, Biological / metabolism*
  • Viral Nonstructural Proteins / genetics
  • Viral Nonstructural Proteins / metabolism*


  • Glycoproteins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • NS28 protein, rotavirus
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • STIM1 protein, human
  • Stromal Interaction Molecule 1
  • Toxins, Biological
  • Viral Nonstructural Proteins
  • Calcium