The role of STIM and ORAI proteins in phagocytic immune cells

Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2016 Apr 1;310(7):C496-508. doi: 10.1152/ajpcell.00360.2015. Epub 2016 Jan 13.


Phagocytic cells, such as neutrophils, macrophages, and dendritic cells, migrate to sites of infection or damage and are integral to innate immunity through two main mechanisms. The first is to directly neutralize foreign agents and damaged or infected cells by secreting toxic substances or ingesting them through phagocytosis. The second is to alert the adaptive immune system through the secretion of cytokines and the presentation of the ingested materials as antigens, inducing T cell maturation into helper, cytotoxic, or regulatory phenotypes. While calcium signaling has been implicated in numerous phagocyte functions, including differentiation, maturation, migration, secretion, and phagocytosis, the molecular components that mediate these Ca(2+) signals have been elusive. The discovery of the STIM and ORAI proteins has allowed researchers to begin clarifying the mechanisms and physiological impact of store-operated Ca(2+) entry, the major pathway for generating calcium signals in innate immune cells. Here, we review evidence from cell lines and mouse models linking STIM and ORAI proteins to the control of specific innate immune functions of neutrophils, macrophages, and dendritic cells.

Keywords: ORAI1; STIM1; calcium; phagocytes; phagocytosis; store-operated calcium entry.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium Channels / immunology*
  • Calcium Signaling / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate / immunology*
  • Phagocytes / immunology*


  • Calcium Channels