CRAC channels in dental enamel cells

Cell Calcium. 2018 Nov:75:14-20. doi: 10.1016/j.ceca.2018.07.012. Epub 2018 Aug 9.


Enamel mineralization relies on Ca2+ availability provided by Ca2+ release activated Ca2+ (CRAC) channels. CRAC channels are modulated by the endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ sensor STIM1 which gates the pore subunit of the channel known as ORAI1, found the in plasma membrane, to enable sustained Ca2+ influx. Mutations in the STIM1 and ORAI1 genes result in CRAC channelopathy, an ensemble of diseases including immunodeficiency, muscular hypotonia, ectodermal dysplasia with defects in sweat gland function and abnormal enamel mineralization similar to amelogenesis imperfecta (AI). In some reports, the chief medical complain has been the patient's dental health, highlighting the direct and important link between CRAC channels and enamel. The reported enamel defects are apparent in both the deciduous and in permanent teeth and often require extensive dental treatment to provide the patient with a functional dentition. Among the dental phenotypes observed in the patients, discoloration, increased wear, hypoplasias (thinning of enamel) and chipping has been reported. These findings are not universal in all patients. Here we review the mutations in STIM1 and ORAI1 causing AI-like phenotype, and evaluate the enamel defects in CRAC channel deficient mice. We also provide a brief overview of the role of CRAC channels in other mineralizing systems such as dentine and bone.

Keywords: Amelogenesis imperfecta; CRAC channels; Enamel; Hypoplasia; Mutations.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium Release Activated Calcium Channels / metabolism*
  • Calcium Signaling
  • Dental Enamel / cytology*
  • Ectodermal Dysplasia / pathology
  • Humans
  • Loss of Function Mutation
  • Models, Biological


  • Calcium Release Activated Calcium Channels