STIM1 and STIM2 are dynamic transmembrane endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ sensors, coupling directly to activate plasma membrane Orai Ca2+ entry channels. Despite extensive sequence homology, the STIM proteins are functionally distinct. We reveal that the short variable N-terminal random coil sequences of STIM1 and STIM2 confer profoundly different activation properties. Using Orai1-expressing HEK293 cells, chimeric replacement of the 43-amino-acid STIM1 N terminus with that of STIM2 attenuates Orai1-mediated Ca2+ entry and drastically slows store-induced Orai1 channel activation. Conversely, the 55-amino-acid STIM2 terminus substituted within STIM1 strikingly enhances both Orai1-mediated Ca2+ entry and constitutive coupling to activate Orai1 channels. Hence, STIM N termini are powerful coupling modifiers, functioning in STIM2 to "brake" the otherwise constitutive activation of Orai1 channels afforded by its high sensitivity to luminal Ca2+.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology