Physiological CRAC channel activation and pore properties require STIM1 binding to all six Orai1 subunits
The Journal of General Physiology
The binding of STIM1 to Orai1 controls the opening of store-operated CRAC channels as well as their extremely high Ca2+selectivity. Although STIM1 dimers are known to bind directly to the cytosolic C termini of the six Orai1 subunits (SUs) that form the channel hexamer, the dependence of channel activation and selectivity on the number of occupied binding sites is not well understood. Here we address these questions using dimeric and hexameric Orai1 concatemers in which L273D mutations were
... oduced to inhibit STIM1 binding to specific Orai1 SUs. By measuring FRET between fluorescently labeled STIM1 and Orai1, we find that homomeric L273D mutant channels fail to bind STIM1 appreciably; however, the L273D SU does bind STIM1 and contribute to channel activation when located adjacent to a WT SU. These results suggest that STIM1 dimers can interact with pairs of neighboring Orai1 SUs. Surprisingly, a single L273D mutation within the Orai1 hexamer reduces channel open probability by ∼90%, triples the size of the single-channel current, weakens the Ca2+binding affinity of the selectivity filter, and lowers the selectivity for Na+over Cs+in the absence of divalent cations. These findings reveal a surprisingly strong functional coupling between STIM1 binding and CRAC channel gating and pore properties. We conclude that under physiological conditions, all six Orai1 SUs of the native CRAC channel bind STIM1 to effectively open the pore and generate the signature properties of extremely low conductance and high ion selectivity.