Intrinsic disorder mediates cooperative signal transduction in STIM1

Yukio Furukawa, Shunsuke Teraguchi, Takahisa Ikegami, Onur Dagliyan, Lin Jin, Damien Hall, Nikolay Dokholyan, Keiichi Namba, Shizuo Akira, Tomohiro Kurosaki, Yoshihiro Baba, Daron M. Standley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Intrinsically disordered domains have been reported to play important roles in signal transduction networks by introducing cooperativity into protein-protein interactions. Unlike intrinsically disordered domains that become ordered upon binding, the EF-SAM domain in the stromal interaction molecule (STIM) 1 is distinct in that it is ordered in the monomeric state and partially unfolded in its oligomeric state, with the population of the two states depending on the local Ca2 + concentration. The oligomerization of STIM1, which triggers extracellular Ca2 + influx, exhibits cooperativity with respect to the local endoplasmic reticulum Ca 2 + concentration. Although the physiological importance of the oligomerization reaction is well established, the mechanism of the observed cooperativity is not known. Here, we examine the response of the STIM1 EF-SAM domain to changes in Ca2 + concentration using mathematical modeling based on in vitro experiments. We find that the EF-SAM domain partially unfolds and dimerizes cooperatively with respect to Ca2 + concentration, with Hill coefficients and half-maximal activation concentrations very close to the values observed in vivo for STIM1 redistribution and extracellular Ca 2 + influx. Our mathematical model of the dimerization reaction agrees quantitatively with our analytical ultracentrifugation-based measurements and previously published free energies of unfolding. A simple interpretation of these results is that Ca2 + loss effectively acts as a denaturant, enabling cooperative dimerization and robust signal transduction. We present a structural model of the Ca2 +-unbound EF-SAM domain that is consistent with a wide range of evidence, including resistance to proteolytic cleavage of the putative dimerization portion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2082-2097
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Molecular Biology
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 15 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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