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Curr Biol. 2006 Oct 24;16(20):2073-9. Epub 2006 Sep 14.

CRACM1 multimers form the ion-selective pore of the CRAC channel.

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Department of Pathology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02215, USA.


Receptor-mediated Ca(2+) release from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is often followed by Ca(2+) entry through Ca(2+)-release-activated Ca(2+) (CRAC) channels in the plasma membrane . RNAi screens have identified STIM1 as the putative ER Ca(2+) sensor and CRACM1 (Orai1; ) as the putative store-operated Ca(2+) channel. Overexpression of both proteins is required to reconstitute CRAC currents (I(CRAC); ). We show here that CRACM1 forms multimeric assemblies that bind STIM1 and that acidic residues in the transmembrane (TM) and extracellular domains of CRACM1 contribute to the ionic selectivity of the CRAC-channel pore. Replacement of the conserved glutamate in position 106 of the first TM domain of CRACM1 with glutamine (E106Q) acts as a dominant-negative protein, and substitution with aspartate (E106D) enhances Na(+), Ba(2+), and Sr(2+) permeation relative to Ca(2+). Mutating E190Q in TM3 also affects channel selectivity, suggesting that glutamate residues in both TM1 and TM3 face the lumen of the pore. Furthermore, mutating a putative Ca(2+) binding site in the first extracellular loop of CRACM1 (D110/112A) enhances monovalent cation permeation, suggesting that these residues too contribute to the coordination of Ca(2+) ions to the pore. Our data provide unequivocal evidence that CRACM1 multimers form the Ca(2+)-selective CRAC-channel pore.

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