Calcium (Ca2+) is a ubiquitous second messenger that regulates a plethora of physiological functions. Deregulation of calcium homeostasis has been reported in a wide variety of pathological conditions including cardiovascular disorders, cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. One of the most ubiquitous pathways involved in regulated Ca2+ influx into cells is the store-operated Ca2+ entry (SOCE) pathway. In 2006, Orai1 was identified as the channel protein that mediates SOCE in immune cells. Orai1 has two mammalian homologs, Orai2 and Orai3. Although Orai1 has been the most widely studied Orai isoform, Orai3 has recently received significant attention. Under native conditions, Orai3 was demonstrated to be an important component of store-independent arachidonate-regulated Ca2+ (ARC) entry in HEK293 cells, and more recently of a store-independent leukotrieneC4- regulated Ca2+ (LRC) entry pathway in vascular smooth muscle cells. Recent studies have shown upregulation of Orai3 in estrogen receptor-expressing breast cancers and a critical role for Orai3 in breast cancer development in immune-compromised mice. Orai3 upregulation was also shown to contribute to vascular smooth muscle remodeling and neointimal hyperplasia caused by vascular injury. Furthermore, Orai3 has been shown to contribute to proliferation of effector T-lymphocytes under oxidative stress. In this review, we will discuss the role of Orai3 in reported pathophysiological conditions and will contribute ideas on the potential role of Orai3 in native Ca2+ signaling pathways and human disease.
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