Structures reveal opening of the store-operated calcium channel Orai

ELife
Xiaowei HouStephen B Long

Abstract

The store-operated calcium (Ca2+) channel Orai governs Ca2+ influx through the plasma membrane of many non-excitable cells in metazoans. The channel opens in response to the depletion of Ca2+ stored in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Loss- and gain-of-function mutants of Orai cause disease. Our previous work revealed the structure of Orai with a closed pore. Here, using a gain-of-function mutation that constitutively activates the channel, we present an X-ray structure of Drosophila melanogaster Orai in an open conformation. Well-defined electron density maps reveal that the pore is dramatically dilated on its cytosolic side in comparison to the slender closed pore. Cations and anions bind in different regions of the open pore, informing mechanisms for ion permeation and Ca2+ selectivity. Opening of the pore requires the release of cytosolic latches. Together with additional X-ray structures of an unlatched-but-closed conformation, we propose a sequence for store-operated activation.

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Methods Mentioned

BETA
X-ray
NMR
size-exclusion
Flow cytometry
the
ion exchange chromatography
gel filtration
size exclusion chromatography

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