• the Korean Society for Brain and Neural Sciences


Original Article

Exp Neurobiol 2017; 26(1): 42-54

Published online February 28, 2017

© The Korean Society for Brain and Neural Sciences

Orai1 and Orai3 in Combination with Stim1 Mediate the Majority of Store-operated Calcium Entry in Astrocytes

Jea Kwon1,2,3, Heeyoung An1,2,3, Moonsun Sa1,2,3, Joungha Won2,3,4, Jeong Im Shin2,3 and C. Justin Lee1,2,3*

1KU-KIST Graduate School of Converging Science and Technology, Korea University, Seoul 02841, 2Center for Neuroscience and Functional Connectomics, Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST), Seoul 02792, 3Center for Glia-Neuron Interaction, Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST), Seoul 02792, 4Department of Biological Science, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), Daejeon 34141, Korea

Correspondence to: *To whom correspondence should be addressed.
TEL: 82-2-958-6421, FAX: 82-2-958-6919

Received: January 19, 2017; Revised: January 31, 2017; Accepted: January 31, 2017


Astrocytes are non-excitable cells in the brain and their activity largely depends on the intracellular calcium (Ca2+) level. Therefore, maintaining the intracellular Ca2+ homeostasis is critical for proper functioning of astrocytes. One of the key regulatory mechanisms of Ca2+ homeostasis in astrocytes is the store-operated Ca2+ entry (SOCE). This process is mediated by a combination of the Ca2+-store-depletion-sensor, Stim, and the store-operated Ca2+-channels, Orai and TrpC families. Despite the existence of all those families in astrocytes, previous studies have provided conflicting results on the molecular identification of astrocytic SOCE. Here, using the shRNA-based gene-silencing approach and Ca2+-imaging from cultured mouse astrocytes, we report that Stim1 in combination with Orai1 and Orai3 contribute to the major portion of astrocytic SOCE. Gene-silencing of Stim1 showed a 79.2% reduction of SOCE, indicating that Stim1 is the major Ca2+-store-depletion-sensor. Further gene-silencing showed that Orai1, Orai2, Orai3, and TrpC1 contribute to SOCE by 35.7%, 20.3%, 26.8% and 12.2%, respectively. Simultaneous gene-silencing of all three Orai subtypes exhibited a 67.6% reduction of SOCE. Based on the detailed population analysis, we predict that Orai1 and Orai3 are expressed in astrocytes with a large SOCE, whereas TrpC1 is exclusively expressed in astrocytes with a small SOCE. This analytical approach allows us to identify the store operated channel (SOC) subtype in each cell by the degree of SOCE. Our results propose that Stim1 in combination with Orai1 and Orai3 are the major molecular components of astrocytic SOCE under various physiological and pathological conditions.

Keywords: Astrocyte, SOCE, Stim1, Orai1, Orai3, TrpC1