Enforced tethering elongates the cortical endoplasmic reticulum and limits store-operated Ca2+ entry

J Cell Sci. 2022 Mar 15;135(6):jcs259313. doi: 10.1242/jcs.259313. Epub 2022 Mar 30.


Recruitment of STIM proteins to cortical endoplasmic reticulum (cER) domains forming membrane contact sites (MCSs) mediate the store-operated Ca2+ entry (SOCE) pathway essential for human immunity. The cER is dynamically regulated by STIM and tethering proteins during SOCE, but the ultrastructural rearrangement and functional consequences of cER remodeling are unknown. Here, we express natural (E-Syt1 and E-Syt2) and artificial (MAPPER-S and MAPPER-L) protein tethers in HEK-293T cells and correlate the changes in cER length and gap distance, as measured by electron microscopy, with ionic fluxes. We found that native cER cisternae extended during store depletion and remained elongated at a constant ER-plasma membrane (PM) gap distance during subsequent Ca2+ elevations. Tethering proteins enhanced store-dependent cER expansion, anchoring the enlarged cER at tether-specific gap distances of 12-15 nm (E-Syts) and 5-9 nm (MAPPERs). Cells with artificially extended cER had reduced SOCE and reduced agonist-induced Ca2+ release. SOCE remained modulated by calmodulin and exhibited enhanced Ca2+-dependent inhibition. We propose that cER expansion mediated by ER-PM tethering at a close distance negatively regulates SOCE by confining STIM-ORAI complexes to the periphery of enlarged cER sheets, a process that might participate in the termination of store-operated Ca2+ entry.

Keywords: Ca2+ signaling; Electron microscopy; Innate immunity; Ion channels; Membrane contact sites; Muscle physiology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Calcium Channels* / metabolism
  • Calcium Signaling / physiology
  • Calcium* / metabolism
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / metabolism
  • Humans
  • ORAI1 Protein / metabolism
  • Stromal Interaction Molecule 1 / metabolism


  • Calcium Channels
  • ORAI1 Protein
  • Stromal Interaction Molecule 1
  • Calcium