Store-operated Ca2+ entry (SOCE) is critical for numerous Ca2+-related processes. The activation of SOCE requires engagement between stromal interaction molecule 1 (STIM1) molecules on the endoplasmic reticulum and Ca2+ release-activated channel (CRAC) Orai on the plasma membrane. However, the molecular details of their interactions remain elusive. Here, we analyzed STIM1-Orai interactions using synthetic peptides derived from the N- and C-termini of Orai channels (Orai-NT and Orai-CT, respectively) and purified fragments of STIM1. The binding of STIM1 to Orai-NT is hydrophilic based, whereas binding to the Orai-CT is mostly hydrophobic. STIM1 decreases its affinity for Orai-CT when Orai-NT is present, supporting a stepwise interaction. Orai3-CT exhibits stronger binding to STIM1 than Orai1-CT, largely due to the shortness of one helical turn. The role of newly identified residues was confirmed by co-immunoprecipitation and Ca2+ imaging using full-length molecules. Our results provide important insight into CRAC gating by STIM1.
Keywords: CRAC; Gating mechanism; Immunodeficiency; STIM1; Store-operated Ca2+ entry.
© 2020. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.