STIM1 dimers undergo unimolecular coupling to activate Orai1 channels

Yandong Zhou, Xizhuo Wang, Xianming Wang, Natalia A. Loktionova, Xiangyu Cai, Robert M. Nwokonko, Erin Vrana, Youjun Wang, Brad S. Rothberg, Donald L. Gill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) Ca 2+ sensor, STIM1, becomes activated when ER-stored Ca 2+ is depleted and translocates into ER-plasma membrane junctions where it tethers and activates Orai1 Ca 2+ entry channels. The dimeric STIM1 protein contains a small STIM-Orai-Activating region (SOAR)-the minimal sequence sufficient to activate Orai1 channels. Since SOAR itself is a dimer, we constructed SOAR concatemer-dimers and introduced mutations at F394, which is critical for Orai1 coupling and activation. The F394H mutation in both SOAR monomers completely blocks dimer function, but F394H introduced in only one of the dimeric SOAR monomers has no effect on Orai1 binding or activation. This reveals an unexpected unimolecular coupling between STIM1 and Orai1 and argues against recent evidence suggesting dimeric interaction between STIM1 and two adjacent Orai1 channel subunits. The model predicts that STIM1 dimers may be involved in crosslinking between Orai1 channels with implications for the kinetics and localization of Orai1 channel opening.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8395
JournalNature communications
StatePublished - Sep 24 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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