STIM1 and Orai1 mediate CRAC channel activity and are essential for human glioblastoma invasion

Rajender K. Motiani, María C. Hyzinski-García, Xuexin Zhang, Matthew M. Henkel, Iskandar F. Abdullaev, Yu Hung Kuo, Khalid Matrougui, Alexander A. Mongin, Mohamed Trebak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

156 Scopus citations


The Ca2+ sensor stromal interacting molecule 1 (STIM1) and the Ca2+ channel Orai1 mediate the ubiquitous store-operated Ca 2+ entry (SOCE) pathway activated by depletion of internal Ca 2+ stores and mediated through the highly Ca2+-selective, Ca2+ release-activated Ca2+ (CRAC) current. Furthermore, STIM1 and Orai1, along with Orai3, encode store-independent Ca2+ currents regulated by either arachidonate or its metabolite, leukotriene C 4. Orai channels are emerging as important contributors to numerous cell functions, including proliferation, migration, differentiation, and apoptosis. Recent studies suggest critical involvement of STIM/Orai proteins in controlling the development of several cancers, including malignancies of the breast, prostate, and cervix. Here, we quantitatively compared the magnitude of SOCE and the expression levels of STIM1 and Orai1 in non-malignant human primary astrocytes (HPA) and in primary human cell lines established from surgical samples of the brain tumor glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). Using Ca2+ imaging, patch-clamp electrophysiology, pharmacological reagents, and gene silencing, we established that in GBM cells, SOCE and CRAC are mediated by STIM1 and Orai1. We further found that GBM cells show upregulation of SOCE and increased Orai1 levels compared to HPA. The functional significance of SOCE was evaluated by studying the effects of STIM1 and Orai1 knockdown on cell proliferation and invasion. Utilizing Matrigel assays, we demonstrated that in GBM, but not in HPA, downregulation of STIM1 and Orai1 caused a dramatic decrease in cell invasion. In contrast, the effects of STIM1 and Orai1 knockdown on GBM cell proliferation were marginal. Overall, these results demonstrate that STIM1 and Orai1 encode SOCE and CRAC currents and control invasion of GBM cells. Our work further supports the potential use of channels contributed by Orai isoforms as therapeutic targets in cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1249-1260
Number of pages12
JournalPflugers Archiv European Journal of Physiology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Physiology (medical)


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