Orai channel-mediated Ca2+ signals in vascular and airway smooth muscle

Amy M. Spinelli, Mohamed Trebak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Orai (Orai1, Orai2, and Orai3) proteins form a family of highly Ca2+-selective plasma membrane channels that are regulated by stromal-interacting molecules (STIM1 and STIM2); STIM proteins are Ca2+ sensors located in the membrane of the endoplasmic reticulum. STIM and Orai proteins are expressed in vascular and airway smooth muscle and constitute the molecular components of the ubiquitous store-operated Ca2+ entry pathway that mediate the Ca2+ release-activated Ca2+ current. STIM/Orai proteins also encode store-independent Ca2+ entry pathways in smooth muscle. Altered expression and function of STIM/Orai proteins have been linked to vascular and airway pathologies, including restenosis, hypertension, and atopic asthma. In this review we discuss our current understanding of Orai proteins and the store-dependent and -independent signaling pathways mediated by these proteins in vascular and airway smooth muscle. We also discuss the current studies linking altered expression and function of Orai proteins with smooth muscle-related pathologies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)C402-C413
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 15 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Cell Biology


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