ORAI2 modulates store-operated calcium entry and T cell-mediated immunity
Store-operated Ca2+ entry (SOCE) through Ca2+ release-activated Ca2+ (CRAC) channels is critical for lymphocyte function and immune responses. CRAC channels are hexamers of ORAI proteins that form the channel pore, but the contributions of individual ORAI homologues to CRAC channel function are not well understood. Here we show that deletion of Orai1 reduces, whereas deletion of Orai2 increases, SOCE in mouse T cells. These distinct effects are due to the ability of ORAI2 to form heteromeric channels with ORAI1 and to attenuate CRAC channel function. The combined deletion of Orai1 and Orai2 abolishes SOCE and strongly impairs T cell function. In vivo, Orai1/Orai2 double-deficient mice have impaired T cell-dependent antiviral immune responses, and are protected from T cell-mediated autoimmunity and alloimmunity in models of colitis and graft-versus-host disease. Our study demonstrates that ORAI1 and ORAI2 form heteromeric CRAC channels, in which ORAI2 fine-tunes the magnitude of SOCE to modulate immune responses.
Store-Operated Ca2+ Entry Controls Induction of Lipolysis and the Transcriptional Reprogramming to Lipid Metabolism
Ca2+ signals were reported to control lipid homeostasis, but the Ca2+ channels and pathways involved are largely unknown. Store-operated Ca2+ entry (SOCE) is a ubiquitous Ca2+ influx pathway regulated by stromal interaction molecule 1 (STIM1), STIM2, and the Ca2+ channel ORAI1. We show that SOCE-deficient mice accumulate pathological amounts of lipid droplets in the liver, heart, and skeletal muscle. Cells from patients with loss-of-function mutations in STIM1 or ORAI1 show a similar phenotype, suggesting a cell-intrinsic role for SOCE in the regulation of lipid metabolism. SOCE is crucial to induce mobilization of fatty acids from lipid droplets, lipolysis, and mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation. SOCE regulates cyclic AMP production and the expression of neutral lipases as well as the transcriptional regulators of lipid metabolism, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator 1 alpha (PGC-1alpha), and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha (PPARalpha). SOCE-deficient cells upregulate lipophagy, which protects them from lipotoxicity. Our data provide evidence for an important role of SOCE in lipid metabolism.
Store-operated Ca2+ entry regulates Ca2+-activated chloride channels and eccrine sweat gland function
Eccrine sweat glands are essential for sweating and thermoregulation in humans. Loss-of-function mutations in the Ca2+ release-activated Ca2+ (CRAC) channel genes ORAI1 and STIM1 abolish store-operated Ca2+ entry (SOCE), and patients with these CRAC channel mutations suffer from anhidrosis and hyperthermia at high ambient temperatures. Here we have shown that CRAC channel-deficient patients and mice with ectodermal tissue-specific deletion of Orai1 (Orai1K14Cre) or Stim1 and Stim2 (Stim1/2K14Cre) failed to sweat despite normal sweat gland development. SOCE was absent in agonist-stimulated sweat glands from Orai1K14Cre and Stim1/2K14Cre mice and human sweat gland cells lacking ORAI1 or STIM1 expression. In Orai1K14Cre mice, abolishment of SOCE was associated with impaired chloride secretion by primary murine sweat glands. In human sweat gland cells, SOCE mediated by ORAI1 was necessary for agonist-induced chloride secretion and activation of the Ca2+-activated chloride channel (CaCC) anoctamin 1 (ANO1, also known as TMEM16A). By contrast, expression of TMEM16A, the water channel aquaporin 5 (AQP5), and other regulators of sweat gland function was normal in the absence of SOCE. Our findings demonstrate that Ca2+ influx via store-operated CRAC channels is essential for CaCC activation, chloride secretion, and sweat production in humans and mice.
Store-Operated Ca Entry in Follicular T Cells Controls Humoral Immune Responses and Autoimmunity
T follicular helper (Tfh) cells promote affinity maturation of B cells in germinal centers (GCs), whereas T follicular regulatory (Tfr) cells limit the GC reaction. Store-operated Ca2+ entry (SOCE) through Ca2+ release-activated Ca2+ (CRAC) channels mediated by STIM and ORAI proteins is a fundamental signaling pathway in T lymphocytes. Conditional deletion of Stim1 and Stim2 genes in T cells abolished SOCE and strongly reduced antibody-mediated immune responses following viral infection caused by impaired differentiation and function of Tfh cells. Conversely, aging Stim1Stim2-deficient mice developed humoral autoimmunity with spontaneous autoantibody production due to abolished Tfr cell differentiation in the presence of residual Tfh cells. Mechanistically, SOCE controlled Tfr and Tfh cell differentiation through NFAT-mediated IRF4, BATF, and Bcl-6 transcription-factor expression. SOCE had a dual role in controlling the GC reaction by regulating both Tfh and Tfr cell differentiation, thus enabling protective B cell responses and preventing humoral autoimmunity.
Selective ORAI1 Inhibition Ameliorates Autoimmune Central Nervous System Inflammation by Suppressing Effector but Not Regulatory T Cell Function
The function of CD4+ T cells is dependent on Ca2+ influx through Ca2+ release-activated Ca2+ (CRAC) channels formed by ORAI proteins. To investigate the role of ORAI1 in proinflammatory Th1 and Th17 cells and autoimmune diseases, we genetically and pharmacologically modulated ORAI1 function. Immunization of mice lacking Orai1 in T cells with MOG peptide resulted in attenuated severity of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). The numbers of T cells and innate immune cells in the CNS of ORAI1-deficient animals were strongly reduced along with almost completely abolished production of IL-17A, IFN-gamma, and GM-CSF despite only partially reduced Ca2+ influx. In Th1 and Th17 cells differentiated in vitro, ORAI1 was required for cytokine production but not the expression of Th1- and Th17-specific transcription factors T-bet and RORgammat. The differentiation and function of induced regulatory T cells, by contrast, was independent of ORAI1. Importantly, induced genetic deletion of Orai1 in adoptively transferred, MOG-specific T cells was able to halt EAE progression after disease onset. Likewise, treatment of wild-type mice with a selective CRAC channel inhibitor after EAE onset ameliorated disease. Genetic deletion of Orai1 and pharmacological ORAI1 inhibition reduced the leukocyte numbers in the CNS and attenuated Th1/Th17 cell-mediated cytokine production. In human CD4+ T cells, CRAC channel inhibition reduced the expression of IL-17A, IFN-gamma, and other cytokines in a dose-dependent manner. Taken together, these findings support the conclusion that Th1 and Th17 cell function is particularly dependent on CRAC channels, which could be exploited as a therapeutic approach to T cell-mediated autoimmune diseases.
Diseases caused by mutations in ORAI1 and STIM1
Ca2+ release-activated Ca2+ (CRAC) channels mediate a specific form of Ca2+ influx called store-operated Ca2+ entry (SOCE) that contributes to the function of many cell types. CRAC channels are composed of ORAI1 proteins located in the plasma membrane, which form its ion-conducting pore. ORAI1 channels are activated by stromal interaction molecule (STIM) 1 and STIM2 located in the endoplasmic reticulum. Loss- and gain-of-function gene mutations in ORAI1 and STIM1 in human patients cause distinct disease syndromes. CRAC channelopathy is caused by loss-of-function mutations in ORAI1 and STIM1 that abolish CRAC channel function and SOCE; it is characterized by severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID)-like disease, autoimmunity, muscular hypotonia, and ectodermal dysplasia, with defects in sweat gland function and dental enamel formation. The latter defect emphasizes an important role of CRAC channels in tooth development. By contrast, autosomal dominant gain-of-function mutations in ORAI1 and STIM1 result in constitutive CRAC channel activation, SOCE, and increased intracellular Ca2+ levels that are associated with an overlapping spectrum of diseases, including nonsyndromic tubular aggregate myopathy (TAM) and York platelet and Stormorken syndromes. The latter two syndromes are defined, besides myopathy, by thrombocytopenia, thrombopathy, and bleeding diathesis. The fact that myopathy results from both loss- and gain-of-function mutations in ORAI1 and STIM1 highlights the importance of CRAC channels for Ca2+ homeostasis in skeletal muscle function. The cellular dysfunction and clinical disease spectrum observed in mutant patients provide important information about the molecular regulation of ORAI1 and STIM1 proteins and the role of CRAC channels in human physiology.
STIM1 controls T cell-mediated immune regulation and inflammation in chronic infection
Chronic infections induce a complex immune response that controls pathogen replication, but also causes pathology due to sustained inflammation. Ca2+ influx mediates T cell function and immunity to infection, and patients with inherited mutations in the gene encoding the Ca2+ channel ORAI1 or its activator stromal interaction molecule 1 (STIM1) are immunodeficient and prone to chronic infection by various pathogens, including Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb). Here, we demonstrate that STIM1 is required for T cell-mediated immune regulation during chronic Mtb infection. Compared with WT animals, mice with T cell-specific Stim1 deletion died prematurely during the chronic phase of infection and had increased bacterial burdens and severe pulmonary inflammation, with increased myeloid and lymphoid cell infiltration. Although STIM1-deficient T cells exhibited markedly reduced IFN-gamma production during the early phase of Mtb infection, bacterial growth was not immediately exacerbated. During the chronic phase, however, STIM1-deficient T cells displayed enhanced IFN-gamma production in response to elevated levels of IL-12 and IL-18. The lack of STIM1 in T cells was associated with impaired activation-induced cell death upon repeated TCR engagement and pulmonary lymphocytosis and hyperinflammation in Mtb-infected mice. Chronically Mtb-infected, STIM1-deficient mice had reduced levels of inducible regulatory T cells (iTregs) due to a T cell-intrinsic requirement for STIM1 in iTreg differentiation and excessive production of IFN-gamma and IL-12, which suppress iTreg differentiation and maintenance. Thus, STIM1 controls multiple aspects of T cell-mediated immune regulation to limit injurious inflammation during chronic infection.
Missense mutation in immunodeficient patients shows the multifunctional roles of coiled-coil domain 3 (CC3) in STIM1 activation
Store-operated Ca2+ entry (SOCE) is a universal Ca2+ influx pathway that is important for the function of many cell types. SOCE occurs upon depletion of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) Ca2+ stores and relies on a complex molecular interplay between the plasma membrane (PM) Ca2+ channel ORAI1 and the ER Ca2+ sensor stromal interaction molecule (STIM) 1. Patients with null mutations in ORAI1 or STIM1 genes present with severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID)-like disease. Here, we describe the molecular mechanisms by which a loss-of-function STIM1 mutation (R429C) in human patients abolishes SOCE. R429 is located in the third coiled-coil (CC3) domain of the cytoplasmic C terminus of STIM1. Mutation of R429 destabilizes the CC3 structure and alters the conformation of the STIM1 C terminus, thereby releasing a polybasic domain that promotes STIM1 recruitment to ER-PM junctions. However, the mutation also impairs cytoplasmic STIM1 oligomerization and abolishes STIM1-ORAI1 interactions. Thus, despite its constitutive localization at ER-PM junctions, mutant STIM1 fails to activate SOCE. Our results demonstrate multifunctional roles of the CC3 domain in regulating intra- and intermolecular STIM1 interactions that control (i) transition of STIM1 from a quiescent to an active conformational state, (ii) cytoplasmic STIM1 oligomerization, and (iii) STIM1-ORAI1 binding required for ORAI1 activation.
CavÎ²1 regulates T cell expansion and apoptosis independently of voltage-gated Ca2+ channel function
TCR stimulation triggers Ca2+ signals that are critical for T cell function and immunity. Several pore-forming Î± and auxiliary Î² subunits of voltage-gated Ca2+ channels (VGCC) were reported in T cells, but their mechanism of activation remains elusive and their contribution to Ca2+ signaling in T cells is controversial. We here identify CaVÎ²1, encoded by Cacnb1, as a regulator of T cell function. Cacnb1 deletion enhances apoptosis and impairs the clonal expansion of T cells after lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) infection. By contrast, Cacnb1 is dispensable for T cell proliferation, cytokine production and Ca2+ signaling. Using patch clamp electrophysiology and Ca2+ recordings, we are unable to detect voltage-gated Ca2+ currents or Ca2+ influx in human and mouse T cells upon depolarization with or without prior TCR stimulation. mRNAs of several VGCC Î±1 subunits are detectable in human (CaV3.3, CaV3.2) and mouse (CaV2.1) T cells, but they lack transcription of many 5' exons, likely resulting in N-terminally truncated and non-functional proteins. Our findings demonstrate that although CaVÎ²1 regulates T cell function, these effects are independent of VGCC channel activity.
The volume-regulated anion channel LRRC8C suppresses T cell function by regulating cyclic dinucleotide transport and STING-p53 signaling