The Number and Position of Orai3 Units within Heteromeric Store-Operated Ca2+ Channels Alter the Pharmacology of ICRAC

Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Apr 2;21(7):2458. doi: 10.3390/ijms21072458.


Store-operated heteromeric Orai1/Orai3 channels have been discussed in the context of aging, cancer, and immune cell differentiation. In contrast to homomeric Orai1 channels, they exhibit a different pharmacology upon application of reactive oxygen species (ROS) or 2-aminoethoxydiphenyl borate (2-APB) in various cell types. In endogenous cells, subunit composition and arrangement may vary and cannot be defined precisely. In this study, we used patch-clamp electrophysiology to investigate the 2-APB profile of store-operated and store-independent homomeric Orai1 and heteromeric Orai1/Orai3 concatenated channels with defined subunit compositions. As has been shown previous, one or more Orai3 subunit(s) within the channel result(s) in decreased Ca2+ release activated Ca2+ current (ICRAC). Upon application of 50 µM 2-APB, channels with two or more Orai3 subunits exhibit large outward currents and can be activated by 2-APB independent from storedepletion and/or the presence of STIM1. The number and position of Orai3 subunits within the heteromeric store-operated channel change ion conductivity of 2-APB-activated outward current. Compared to homomeric Orai1 channels, one Orai3 subunit within the channel does not alter 2-APB pharmacology. None of the concatenated channel constructs were able to exactly simulate the complex 2-APB pharmacology observed in prostate cancer cells. However, 2-APB profiles of prostate cancer cells are similar to those of concatenated channels with Orai3 subunit(s). Considering the presented and previous results, this indicates that distinct subtypes of heteromeric SOCE channels may be selectively activated or blocked. In the future, targeting distinct heteromeric SOCE channel subtypes may be the key to tailored SOCE-based therapies.

Keywords: 2-APB; ICRAC; Orai1; Orai3; SOCE; concatenated channels.

MeSH terms

  • Calcium Channels / chemistry
  • Calcium Channels / metabolism*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Humans
  • Ion Channel Gating* / drug effects
  • Male
  • Membrane Potentials
  • ORAI1 Protein / chemistry
  • ORAI1 Protein / metabolism
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Multimerization* / drug effects


  • Calcium Channels
  • ORAI1 Protein
  • Orai3 protein, human