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J Biol Chem. 2012 Dec 7;287(50):42042-52. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M112.417212. Epub 2012 Oct 17.

Stromal interaction molecule 1 (STIM1) is involved in the regulation of mitochondrial shape and bioenergetics and plays a role in oxidative stress.

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Department of Neurology, Medical Faculty, Heinrich Heine Universität Düsseldorf, D-40225 Düsseldorf, Germany.


Calcium ions are involved in a plethora of cellular functions including cell death and mitochondrial energy metabolism. Store-operated Ca(2+) entry over the plasma membrane is activated by depletion of intracellular Ca(2+) stores and is mediated by the sensor STIM1 and the channel ORAI1. We compared cell death susceptibility to oxidative stress in STIM1 knock-out and ORAI1 knockdown mouse embryonic fibroblasts and in knock-out cells with reconstituted wild type and dominant active STIM1. We show that STIM1 and ORAI1 deficiency renders cells more susceptible to oxidative stress, which can be rescued by STIM1 and ORAI1 overexpression. STIM1 knock-out mitochondria are tubular, have a higher Ca(2+) concentration, and are metabolically more active, resulting in constitutive oxidative stress causing increased nuclear translocation of the antioxidant transcription factor NRF2 triggered by increased phosphorylation of the translation initiation factor eIF2α and the protein kinase-like endoplasmic reticulum kinase PERK. This leads to increased transcription of antioxidant genes and a high basal glutathione in STIM1 knock-out cells, which is, however, more rapidly expended upon additional stress, resulting in increased release and nuclear translocation of apoptosis-inducing factor with subsequent cell death. Our data suggest that store-operated Ca(2+) entry and STIM1 are involved in the regulation of mitochondrial shape and bioenergetics and play a role in oxidative stress.

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