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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2014 May;1838(5):1281-7. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamem.2014.01.019. Epub 2014 Jan 26.

Structural and stoichiometric determinants of Ca2+ release-activated Ca2+ (CRAC) channel Ca2+-dependent inactivation.

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School of Medical Sciences, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia 5005, Australia.
Department of Medical Biochemistry, School of Medicine, Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia 5001, Australia.
School of Medical Sciences, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia 5005, Australia. Electronic address:


Depletion of intracellular Ca(2+) stores in mammalian cells results in Ca(2+) entry across the plasma membrane mediated primarily by Ca(2+) release-activated Ca(2+) (CRAC) channels. Ca(2+) influx through these channels is required for the maintenance of homeostasis and Ca(2+) signaling in most cell types. One of the main features of native CRAC channels is fast Ca(2+)-dependent inactivation (FCDI), where Ca(2+) entering through the channel binds to a site near its intracellular mouth and causes a conformational change, closing the channel and limiting further Ca(2+) entry. Early studies suggested that FCDI of CRAC channels was mediated by calmodulin. However, since the discovery of STIM1 and Orai1 proteins as the basic molecular components of the CRAC channel, it has become apparent that FCDI is a more complex phenomenon. Data obtained using heterologous overexpression of STIM1 and Orai1 suggest that, in addition to calmodulin, several cytoplasmic domains of STIM1 and Orai1 and the selectivity filter within the channel pore are required for FCDI. The stoichiometry of STIM1 binding to Orai1 also has emerged as an important determinant of FCDI. Consequently, STIM1 protein expression levels have the potential to be an endogenous regulator of CRAC channel Ca(2+) influx. This review discusses the current understanding of the molecular mechanisms governing the FCDI of CRAC channels, including an evaluation of further experiments that may delineate whether STIM1 and/or Orai1 protein expression is endogenously regulated to modulate CRAC channel function, or may be dysregulated in some pathophysiological states.


CRAC; Ca(2+) channel; Ca(2+)-dependent inactivation; Gating; Orai1; STIM1

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