Human neural progenitor cells (hNPCs) are self-renewing cells of neural lineage that can be differentiated into neurons of different subtypes. Here we show that SEPT7, a member of the family of filament-forming GTPases called septins, prevents constitutive Ca2+ entry through the store-operated Ca2+ entry channel, Orai in hNPCs and in differentiated neurons and is thus required for neuronal calcium homeostasis. Previous work in Drosophila neurons has shown that loss of one copy of the evolutionarily-conserved dSEPT7 gene leads to elevated Ca2+ entry via Orai, in the absence of ER-Ca2+ store depletion. We have identified an N-terminal polybasic region of SEPT7, known to interact with membrane-localized phospholipids, as essential for spontaneous calcium entry through Orai in hNPCs, whereas the GTPase domain of dSEPT7 is dispensable for this purpose. Re-organisation of Orai1 and the ER-Ca2+ sensor STIM1 observed near the plasma membrane in SEPT7 KD hNPCs, supports the idea that Septin7 containing heteromers prevent Ca2+ entry through a fraction of STIM-Orai complexes. Possible mechanisms by which SEPT7 reduction leads to opening of Orai channels in the absence of store-depletion are discussed.
Keywords: GTPase mutants; Polybasic domain; STIM1; Sept2; Store-operated Ca2+ entry.
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